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The beginnings of Buddhist art, and other 

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Cornell University 

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13, RUE JACOB, 13 







Printed for PAUL GEUTHNER by 
A. BURDIN. — F. GAVLTIER and A. THtBERT, Succ", Augers, France. 


Essay IX 


Dsmoulin lr»r*». Sc 













13, RUE JACOB, 13 




v/ y ;^c\3 





Member of the Institute : 


Jane 1914. 


To the rather limited circle of scholars interested in Indian Art and 
Archeology the work of M. Foucher requires no introduction. His numerous 
studies devoted to these subjects, and in particular his comprehensive treatise 
on the Grasco-Buddhist Art of Gandhdra, have fully established his position 
as a leader in this sphere. A collective edition of his essays and addresses, 
dispersed in various serial and periodical publications, will therefore be sure 
of a warm welcome. 

The translators do not disavow a hope that this English version may appeal 
not only to those readers, chiefly in the East, to whom the author s original 
presents a difficulty, but also to a rather wider public in England and 
America. Aware of the interest which in Paris attended the delivery of 
M. Boucher's lectures, they would regret ij the charm had so far evaporated in 
translation as to forfeit a share in the growing appreciation of Oriental art. 

Buddhism — for it is especially Buddhist monuments that are here sur- 
veyed — is. of course, a subject oj vast extent. We may add that it is a highly 
organic subject, and that the study of it is still at a specially interesting stage, 
the stage of discovery. We cannot touch it in any part without evoking res- 
ponses from distant and unexpected quarters . We might compare it to a magic 
carpet ; we fix upon some well defined topic, relating, let us say, to the Greeco- 
Buddhist school of Gandhdra, and promptly, even without our volition, some 
analogy or connection transports us to the Central Asia, China or Japan of 
many centuries later, even if we have not to continue our flight to Java in the 
ninth century or Cambodia in the twelfth. The reader will find in these pages 
abundant examples of such transitions. The first essays reach back by a highly 
ingenious and probable hypothesis to the very origins of Buddhist art in India 
itself, and give us the measure of its possibilities by what it has achieved at 
Sdnchl and Barhut. Already we detect some traces of foreign influence, from 
the Persia of the Achxmenids. Soon an abrupt irruption of Hellenistic art 


overwhelms the native schools, and creates a repertory of religious composi- 
tions, which the Buddhist propaganda carries to Central Asia, the Far East, 
and the Malay islands. Thus is established a genetic connection between the 
religious art of Europe and Asia, a double efflorescence from one root, most 
strikingly exemplified in the case of the Buddha type, which closely resembles 
the earliest sculptural type of Christ, and most curiously in that of the 'Tute- 
lary Pair', found throughout the whole Buddhist sphere and at the same time 
in ancient Gaul : or shall we claim the highest degree of interest for the case 
of the 'Madonna' group (Essay IX), which — ultimately derived, in all 
probability, from ancient Egypt — has ended by conquering the whole world 1 
This splendid generalization cannot fail to be fruitful, both on the European 
and on the Asiatic side, in inspiration for future researches : in the mean- 
while it may be welcomed as reestablishing by the aid of art that feeling of 
solidarity and sympathy between India and Europe, which flourished during 
the palmy days of Vedic studies, but latterly has been somewhat discouraged 
by specialism. 

Need we remark that, where religious art and archxology are the theme, 
literature and literary history cannot be far away 1 M. Voucher has commented 
upon the predominantly narrative character of the bas-reliefs with which he is 
dealing : it may indeed be said that, apart from purely decorative figures and 
symbols, the great bulk of them are illustrations of scenes from the life of the 
Buddha. The life must, indeed, he conceived in an ample sense, according to 
that grandiose Indian conception whereby, as M. Foucher opportunely reminds 
us, the biography is not confined to a single span, hut covers the whole series of 
countless births, under all forms of existence, which were necessary for the 
accumulation of the positive and negative characteristics manifested finally in 
the Great Being, the Perfectly Illuminated. The scenes therefore need to be 
read, and at first the very alphabet was wanting. The problem was of far 
greater obscurity than in the case of what M. Foucher terms the magnificent 
illustrated bible constituted by the sculptors of the cathedral of Chartres. The 
texts of the Buddhist religion have only gradually been made known : those 
events in the life which wen specially marked out for illustration — the 
twelve acts of Buddha and so forth — had not been separated out ; the Jataka 
book, recording the tales of previous births, was not at first available. The 
names of those scholars to whom we are indebted for the first tentatives at 
decipherment, such as the inspired, if not impeccable, archseologist. General Sir 
Alexander Cunningham, Prof. Grtinwedel of the Berlin Ethnographical 
Museum, Dr. Serge d' Oldenburg, Perpetual Secretary of the Imperial 


Academy of St. Petersburg, and others will be found recurring in M. Fou- 
cher's pages. But undoubtedly the matter has in M. Foucher's own work made 
a long step forward : the reader will remark not only the artistic insight 
which gives so much ease and certainty to the identifications in this volume, but 
also the emergence of principles fitted to serve as a guide for future discovery 
and criticism in this field of study. In a word, we see taking shape, not only 
an art, but also a science of discovery and interpretation in regard to 
Buddhist, and by consequence to Indian, illustration. 

xA history of Buddhist Art is a task for the future ; may we some day 
have the pleasure of welcoming a systematic treatise upon the subject from 
M. Foucher's own pen. For the present we are only at the commencement. 
Nothing guarantees us that in its beginnings the Art shall be found on a level 
with the doctrine, or that it shall follow a parallel course, or again that 
it shall develops with a proportional rapidity. Gn the contrary, we see already 
that at Sdnchi and Barhut, after centuries of active speculation, it 
makes its appeal primarily to a community characterii^ed by naive and simple 
piety. In the case of Christianity how many centuries of dogmatic strife 
precede the age of the primitives I Nevertheless the reader who turns from the 
essays on Barhut and Sdnchi to those dealing with the Great Miracle and 
with Boro-Budur — much clearer would be his impression, if he embraced in 
his view the mediaeval and modern art of China, fapan, and Tibet — cannot 
fail to note the metaphysical contemplation which has grown upon the decay 
of the older popular piety. Yet even here we have a warning as to the partial 
reversions which may result from the transplanting of religion to a less sophis- 
ticated society : since in the sculptures of Boro-Budur we find again — in 
an atmosphere, it is true, of hypertropical softness — no small admixture of 
that frank pleasure in mere story-telling which is the special charm of 
Sdnchi and Barhut. 

London. June, 1914. 

F. W. Thomas. 

We are indebted for the use of photographs to the Secretary of State for 
India. Dr. J. Bdrgess, and Prof. A. A. Macdonell (England) ; to Prof. Ed. 
Chavannes, Mr. Henry H. Getty and M. V Golodbew (France) ; to Prof. 
A. Grunwedel and Dr. A. von Le Coa (Germany) ; to Mr. J H. (now 
Sir John) Marshall, Sir Aurel Stein and Mr. (now Prof.) J. Ph. Vogel 
(India) ; to Major Van Erp (Java) : — and for the loan of blocks to the 
Acaddmie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres, the Soci6t6 Asiatique and 
MM. Esperandieu, Guimet, Hachette et C'% E. Lerodx (Paris), and to 
the Ecole frangaise d'Extrfime-Orient (Hanoi). 

In the body of the work and in the descriptions attached to the plates 
will be found indications in detail of what we owe to this kind cooperation. 
We tender here our grateful thanks for help in the absence of which the 
majority of these essays either would never have come into being or could 
not have been combined to form of a volume. 

Some faults of impression and minor errata will perhaps be judged excu- 
sable in an English book printed in France. 

P. .S". — It should moreover be stated — in view of some few details 
which the reader himself may notice — that this volume, with exception 
of the index and tables, has been in print since June 1914. Through the 
enforced postponement of its appearance, the dedication to M. A. Barth 
has become (since April 15, 1916) unfortunately only a tribute to his 



I. — The BEcrNNiNGS of Buddhist Art i 

II. — The Representations of « Jatakas » on the Bas- 

Reliefs of Barhut 29 

ni. — The Eastern Gate of the Sanchi Stup A .... 61 

IV. — The Greek Origin of the Image of Buddha . . . 1 1 1 , 

V. — The Tutelary Pair in Gaul and in India . . . 139 

VI. — The Great Miracle at ^ravasti 147 

VII. — The Six-Tusked Elephant 185 

VIII. — Buddhist Art IN Java 205 

IX. — The Buddhist Madonna 271 

Index 293 


Hiriti, the Buddhist Madonna : painting fromTurfan... frontispiece 


Plates I-IV. — Beginnings of Buddhist Art 28 

1. Buddhist symbols on ancient Indian coins. 
II. The three last Great Miracles : 

1° at SdncU ; 2° at Amardvati. 

III. The first Great Miracle : 

1° in Gandhdra ; z° at Amardvati. 

IV. The four Great Miracles : 

1° in Gandhdra ; 2° at Amardvati ; 3" at Benares. 

Plates V-VI. — Jatakas at Barhut .... ... 60 

v. In medallions. 

VI. On the rail-coping. 

Plates VII-X. — The Eastern Gate of the SAnchi Stupa. i 10 
VII, I. General view taken from the East. 

2. Back- view of Lintels of Eastern Gate. 
VIII, I. Eastern Gate (front view). 

2. Divine guardian at entrance. 

Interior face of left jamb. 
IX. I. The Conversion of the Ka^yapas. 

Interior face of left jamb. 
2. The Return to Kapilavastu. 

Interior face of right jamb. 
X, I. The Vocation, or Great Departure. 

Front view of middle lintel. 
2. A Procession to the Bodhi-Trce. 

Front view of lower lintel. 



Plates XI-XVI. — Greek Origin of the Buddha Type . . 138 

XI, I. Buddhas in the Lahore Museum. 

2. Buddha in the Guides' Mess, Mardin. 

XII, I. The Village of Shihbaz-Garhi. 
2. The Ruins of Takht-i-Bahai. 

XIII, I. The Village of Sahri-Bahlol. 

2. Excavations near Sahri-Bahlol. 

XIV, I. Shah-ji-ki-Dheri (Kanishka Stupa). 
2. Indo-Greek and Indo-Scythic Coins. 

XV, I. The Relic- casket of Kanishka. 
2. The Bodhisattva Type. 

XVI, 1. Types of Bodhisattva, Buddha and monk. 

2. Graeco-Christian Christ and Graeco-Buddhist Buddha. 

Plates XVII-XVIIL — The Tutelary Pair 146 

XVII. In Gaul. 
XVIII. In Gandhara. 

Plates XIX-XXVIII. — The Great Miracle of Cravasti . 184 

XIX. At Benares. 
XX. At Ajanta. 
XXI, I . At Ajanta : after a wall-painting. 

2. In China : in the Ta-t'ong-fu Caves, 

XXII. On the Boro-Budur, Java. 

XXIII. I. InMagadha. 

2. In the Konkan. 

XXIV. In Gandhira. 

XXV. In Gandhara. 
XXVI. In Gandhara. 

XXVII. In Gandhara. 
XXVIII, I. InGandhsLra. 
2. At Barhut. 

Plates XXIX-XXX. — The Six-tusked Elephant . . . 204 

XXIX, I. At Barhut. 

2. AtAmaravati. 
XXX, I. In Gandhara. 
2. At Ajanta. 


Plates XXXI-XLIV. 
XXXI, I. Boro- 
















XL, I. 

— Buddhist archjEOlogy in Java . . 

Budur : General view (^from the north-west). 

— First Gallery (part of west fafude) . 

— Section and plan. 

— Silhouette. 

— Staircase (north side). 

— Story of Sudhana, no. 3 : Incantation 

against theNaga (central portion) . 

— Story of Sudhana, no. 1 1 : Manohara's flight. 
Above : The Bodhisattva's farewell to the 


— Story of Sudhana,no. i2:ThePrince'sreturn. 
Alove : The Bodhisattva's descent upon 


— Story of Sudhana, no. 16 : At the fountain 

(right-hand portion). 

— Story of M4ndhltar, no. 12 : The rain of 

Ahove : The Bodhisattva chooses his bride. 

— Story of king Qihi, the Dove and the Hawk. 
Above : The first of the Bodhisattva's four 


— Story of Rudrayana, no. 6 : Presentation ot 

the cuirass (left-hand portion) . 

— Story of Rudrayana, no. 9 : Mahikatyi- 

yana's visit. 
Above : The Bodhisattva with his first 
Brahman teacher. 

— Story of Rudrayana, no. 10 : The nun 

^aili's sermon (left-hand portion). 

— Story of Rudriyana, no. 11 : Queen CanJra- 

prabhi's ordination (central portion). 

— Story of Rudrayana, fragments of nos. 12, 

13 and 14. 

— Story of Rudriyana, no. 16 : After the 

Above : The ascetic Bodhisattva declines the 
aid of the gods. 

— Story of Rudriyana, no. 19 : The rain of 

jewels (left-hand portion). 




XLI, I. Boro-Budur : Story of the pair of Kinnaras {central por- 
tion of the second scene"). 
2. — Story of Maitrakanyaka, no. I : The purse- 

offering (central portion'). 
XLII, I. — Story ofMaitrakanyaka, no. 2: The mother's 

supplication (left-hand portion). 
2. — Story of Maitrakanyaka, no. 7 : In the 

Inferno city (right-hand portion) . 
XLIII, I. The unfinished statue of Buddha. 

Under the central cupola, Boro-Budur. 
2 Trailokya-vijaya. 

Bronze in the Batavia Museum. 
XLIV. The Goddess Cunda between two Bodhisattvas. 
On the south western wall of the Chandi Mendut, 

Plates XLV-L. — The Buddhist Madonna 292 

XLV. After a wall-painting from Domoko (Chinese Turkestan). 
I . Side view before removal ;2.As set up in British Museum. 
XLVI. Suckling Madonna : i. Romanesque; 2. Coptic. 
XLVII. Indo- Greek images of Hiriti. 
XLVin, I. Hiriti and her partner in Gandhira. 
2. Hiriti in Java. 
XLIX. Japanese images of Ki-si-mo-jin. 
L, Chinese images of Kuan-Yin. 

N. B. — A detailed description of each plate will he found either in the body of the 
work or on the page de garde opposite the plate. 

The Beginnings of Buddhist Art.C) 

Buddhism is a historical fact; only it has not yet been 
completely incorporated into history : sooner or later that 
will be achieved. Meanwhile its initial period remains, we 
must confess, passably obscure. To add to our difficulty, the 
little that we think we know of the social and political 
state of India in the times of its birth has been learned 
almost entirely through its medium : thus the frame is 
no better defined than the picture. But the task, arduous 
though it may be, is not impossible. The fifth century B. C. 
is not so remote a period that it must always elude archaeo- 
logical research ; the interval between the death of Buddha 
and the first information transmitted to us concerning 
him is not so considerable that we cannot flatter oursel- 
ves with the idea of discerning across it the veritable phy- 
sionomy of the work, if not — in conformity with the 
pious, but too tardy wish of later generations — the 
« actual features » of the worker. This hope is still more 
confident, and the ambition less audacious, when it is a 
question of the beginnings of Buddhist art. The appearance 
of the latter is a relatively late phenomenon, since it pre- 
supposes not only the development of the community of 
monks, but also a certain organization of worship on the 
part of the laity. If among the productions of this art 
the sculptures are almost the sole survivors, we have at 
least preserved to us, notably in the labelled bas-reliefs 

(^i) Journal Asiatique, Jan. -Feb. 1911. 


of Barhut, documents of the very highest rank. Cert- 
ainly the stones are by no means loquacious : but they 
atone for their silence by the unalterableness of a testimony 
which could not be suspected of rifacimento or interpo- 
lation. Thanks to their marvellous grain, they are to-day as 
they were when they left the hands of the image-makers 
Qi'upakdrakd) two thousand years ago; and upon this immu- 
table foundation we can construct inferences more rigo- 
rous than upon the moving sand of the texts. In the ever 
restless and changing play of the doctrines we are never 
quite certain that the logical sequence of the ideas is exact- 
ly parallel to the historical succession of the facts. On the 
other side, the routine character of all manual technique 
will allow us to detect with certainty, in the still existing 
monuments, the material traces of the procedures which 
must have been usual earlier : inversely, and by a kind of 
proof backwards, the correctness of these postulates will 
be verified in that they alone will be found to render a 
satisfactory account of the often uncouth character of that 
which has been preserved to us. All these reasons seem 
to us to justify the task which we have undertaken. In the 
assault delivered from various quarters upon the origins 
of Buddhism we beUeve even that the attempt to go 
back to the very beginning of its art is, among all the 
methods of approach, that which has for the moment the 
most chances of success. 

None, indeed, of the monuments known at the present 
time, building or sculpture, takes us further back than the 
Maurya dynasty. Does that mean that art was created entire 


in India towards the year 250 before our era, by a decree of 
the Emperor A^oka? Of course it would be absurd to 
believe this. From the Vedic times Indian civilization had 
at its disposal the services not only of the carpenter, the 
wheel-wright and the blacksmith, of the potter, the wea- 
ver and other fabricators of objects of prime necessity, but 
also of those whom we call art- workers, painters, gold- 
smiths, carvers in wood or ivory. If the texts were not there 
to tell us this in words, the evidence of the sole surviving 
monuments would be sufficient to establish it. Fergus- 
son has proved once for all that the oldest constructions in 
stone, by the servile manner in which they copy the fra- 
ming and joining of timber work, testify to the previous 
existence of wooden buildings. On the other hand — as 
we know from a rehable source by means of an explicit 
inscription — it was the ivory-workers of Vidi^a who car- 
ved, in the immediate vicinity of their town, one of the 
monumental gates of Sanchi. Besides, it is obvious that the 
finished and well polished bas-reUefs, which for us are the 
first in date, represent not by any means the first attempts 
of beginners, but the work of sculptors long familiar with 
their business and changing their material, but not their 
technique. The whole transformation which was accom- 
plished during the third century before our era is limited to 
the substitution, in religious and royal foundations, of the 
reign of stone for that of wood. Unfortunately, there are 
no worse conditions, climatic and historical, for the preser- 
vation of monuments than those of India. All that was of 
wood was condemned beforehand to fall into dust; all, or 
nearly all, that was of stone and that the climate might 
have spared has been destroyed by the vandalism of man. 
Thus is explained why the most ancient remains of Bud- 
dhist art are at once so late and so rare. If we leave aside 


the great monolithic pillars dear to Agoka, as well as the 
caves excavated for the benefit of all the religious sects 
in every place where the geological formation of the rocks 
lent itself thereto, we find on the ground level, and pend- 
ing more systematic excavations, scarcely anything to 
mention, except the debris of the balustrades, of Bodh- 
Gaya and of Barhut, and the four gates of Sanchi. The 
mention of the kings Brahmamitra and Indramitra, 
inscribed on the first, on the second that of the 
dynasty of the ^ungas, and on one of the last that of the 
reign of Satakani suffice to date them generally, but with 
certainty, as belonging to the second, or first, century 
before our era. It is doubtless to the same epoch, if we may 
judge by the style, that we must refer the oldest fragments 
of the balustrades exhumed both at Amaravati and at 
Mathura. If to these few stray remnants of sculptures we 
add the remains of the most archaic paintings of Ajanta, we 
shall very soon have finished compiling the catalogue of 
what may be styled — in opposition to the later school, of 
the north-west frontier, much more penetrated by foreign 
influences — the native school of Central India. 

Let us go straight to the most striking feature of this old 
Buddhist school. Although well known to speciahsts, it 
will not fail to surprise uninformed readers. When we 
find the ancient stone-carvers of India in full activity, we 
observe that they are very industriously engaged in carrying 
out the strange undertaking of representing the life of Bud- 
dha without Buddha. We have here a fact which, improba- 
ble as it may seem, Cunningham long ago demonstrated. It 
is established on the written testimony of the artists them- 
selves. Those of Barhut inform us by an inscription, that 
such and such a person on his knees before a throne « is 
rendering homage to the Blessed One ». Now, without 


exception, the throne is vacant; at the most, there is a 
symbol indicating the invisible presence of Buddha 0). The 
latest researches have only opened our eyes to the extent 
of the field of application of this constant rule; it holds 
good for the years which preceded as also for those 
which followed the SambodU, for the youth as also for 
the old age of the Master. The facade of the middle lintel 
of the eastern gate of Sanchi illustrates his departure on 
horseback from his house : the embroidered rug which 
serves as a saddle for his steed is empty Q. A medallion 
of Bodh-Gaya represents his first meditation : empty again 
is the seat before which the traditional ploughman is dri- 
ving his plough Q. Some panels of Amaravati show 
us his birth and presentation to the sage Asita; only his 
footprints — a direct ideographic transcription of the for- 
mula which was in use in India to designate respectfully a 
« person » — mark the swaddling clothes on which in one 
place the gods, in another the old rishi are reputed to have 
received him into their arms (*). These selected examples 
suffice to demonstrate that the ancient Indian sculptors 
abstained absolutely from representing either Bodhi- 
sattva or Buddha in the course of his last earthy exis- 
tence (^). Such is the abnormal, but indisputable fact of 
which every history of Buddhist art will have at the outset 
to render account. 

(i) A. Cunningham, Stupa of Barhut, pi. XIII-XVII. 

(2) See below, pp. 75 and 105; cf. pi. X, i. 

(3) ^rt greco-bouddhique du Gandhdra, fig, 177 and p. 345. 

(4) See on the staircase of the British Museum, n"' 44 and 48, or Fer- 
GDSSON, Tree and Serpent Worship, pi. XCI, 4, and LXI, 2. 

(5) Let us add, in order to be quite correct, « at least under his human 
form » ; for we know that a bas-relief at Barhut represents the Blessed One 
descending into the bosom of his mother in the form of an elephant (cf. 
below, p. 20). 


As far as we know, no perfectly satisfactory explanation 
of this fact has until now been given. First of all we tried 
to dispose of the matter more or less by the supposition, as 
evasive as gratuitous, that the ancient school had either not 
desired or had not been able to figure the Blessed One ; 
neither of these two reasons appears to us to have the least 
value in proof. Shall we speak of incapacity ? Assuredly, one 
can see that the concrete realization of the image of the 
« perfect Buddha » was not an easy task : and the difficulty 
could not but increase with the years, in proportion as the 
time of the Master grew more distant and his features faded 
more and more into the mists of the past. Nevertheless, we 
must not form too poor an opinion of the talent of the old 
image-makers, and the argument becomes moreover quite 
worthless, when one attempts to apply it to the youth of 
Buddha. What was he, in fact, up to the time of his flight 
from his native town, but a « royal heir apparent » ? Now 
the type of rdja-kumdra, or crown-prince, is common on 
the gates of Sanchi, as also on the balustrade of Barhut Q; 
what material hindrance was there to their making use of it 
to represent the Bodhisattva ? It is clear that they could 
have done so, and yet they carefully abstained from doing so. 
Shall we fall back, then, upon the other branch of the 
dilemma and say that they did not dare ? Assuredly the 
gravest members of the order must long have held to the 
letter the stern saying that « the master gone, the law 
remains Q » ; and we are quite willing to beheve that the 
law alone was of import for them. The reverend Naga- 
sena still teaches king Menander that henceforth the 

(i) See Cunningham, Stupa of Barhut, pi. XXV, 4 {Mugapakkha-jdtaka 
n" 538 : cf, infra, p. 56 and pi. V, 6) and p. vi (mention of the Vifvaniara- 
jataka) ; north gate of Sanchi, lower lintel (Vi^vantara), etc. 

(2) Mahdparinibbdna-sutta, VI, i. 


Blessed One is no longer visible except in the form of the 
dharmakdyaQ), of the « body of the doctrine » ; but of any 
express prohibition of images we have in the texts no 
knowledge. Since when, moreover, and in what country 
does popular devotion trouble itself about the dogmatic 
scruples of the doctors ? Certainly it was not so in ancient 
India : for otherwise we could not at all understand the 
enthusiasm with which the valley of the Ganges and the 
rest of the peninsula welcomed the Indo-Greek type of 
Buddha. From Mathura to Bodh-Gaya, and from Cravasti 
to Amaravati, we see it installed in triumph on the circum- 
ference of the stupas as in the interior of the temples. So 
rapid a conquest is a sufficient proof that the objections of 
conscience, if any such existed, were far from being insur- 

But, it will be said, if it is true that the ancient Indian 
image-nakers asked for nothing better than to represent 
the Blessed One, and that, on the other hand, they were 
capable ^f it, why then have they so carefully abstained ? 
To this we see but one reply, in appearance, we must confess, 
simple-m'nded enough, but one which, in India, is 
still sufficient for all : « If they did not do it, it was because 
it was not the custom to do it ». And, no doubt, it would 
be easy to letort : oc But you confine yourself to putting off 
the question ; if it does not arise with regard to the sculptors 
whose worcs we possess, it still holds good entirely 
with regard to their predecessors... » — Certainly, and far 
from contradcting, that is just the point at which we 
wished to arrive. We hold that this monstrous abstention, 
such as we observe on the monuments of Barhut and 
Sanchi, remaiis perfectly incomprehensible, unless we 

(i) Milindapanha,id. Trenckner, p. 73; trans. Rhys Davids, p. 113. 


enquire into the traditional habits which it supposes and 
which, for that very reason, it is capable of revealing to 
us. Like certain anomaUes in animal species, it can only 
be explained as an inheritance from a nearly obso- 
lete past, which this survival helps us to reconstitute. In 
other words, it is vain for us to seek a solution of the 
problem in the few relatively late specimens at present 
known to us ; it is to the anterior history, to what is 
still the prehistoric period of Buddhist art that we rnust 
go to discover it. To such a typical case of artistic Tera- 
tology it is the evolutionist method of embryology that 
it is proper to apply. 


To begin, we have the best reasons for thinking 
that the habit of adoring human images, and even^he art 
offabricating them, were stillless general in thelndaofthe 
Brahmans before Alexander than in the Gaul of th- Druids 
before the time of Caesar. Certainly this absence of idola- 
try properly so-called did not in any way excludf, the exis- 
tence of more rudimentary forms of fetichism ( } : never- 
theless, the fact remains that Buddhism did noldevelope, 
like Christianity, in a world long infected by 1,'ie worship 
of images and prompt to contaminate it in it,^ turn. Not 

(i) We allude to the golden purusha -which formed a pjt of the altar of 
sacrifice (Qat.-Brahm., 7, 4, i., 15) and to the effigy krtya of the magic 
rites (Ath. Veda, X, i), etc. — For what is to be underst/od by the Gallic 
simulacra of Cassar (Bdl. Gall., VI, 4), see the article/)! M. S. Reinach 
on L'art plastique en Gaule et le druidisme (Revue Celtiqje, t. XIII, 1892, 
pp. 190 sqq..), where are cited also corresponding testimonies of Hero- 
dotus (I, 131) and Tacitus (Germ., IX) as to the non-ffiistence of idolatry 
among the Persians and the Germans. 


only did the first century already know symbolical or alle- 
gorical representations of Christ ; but from the second cen- 
tury we meet with his portrait on the paintings of the 
catacombs (*). When that of Buddha makes its appearance 
in India, the religion which he had founded was already four 
hundred years old : even so it had required the contact of 
the civiHsation, and the influence of the art, of Hellenism. 
On the other hand, Buddhism was not born, like Islam, 
in an environment beforehand and deliberately hostile to 
idolatry. We do not find that the Vedic texts breathe a 
word about it, either for or against : and their silence is 
explained precisely by the fact that the idea of it had not 
even presented itself to the Indian mind. As soon as the 
time for it shall have come, the grammarians will not fail 
to mention in the employment of the learned language the 
mode of designating the new fact of the Brahmanic idols Q. 
Likewise, when the question of the images of the Master 
presents itself to the faithful Buddhists, their writings will 
supply explicitly the opportune solutions; and if these suc- 
cessive solutions are, moreover, contradictory, it is simply 
that in the interval the needs ofthe religious conscience have 
changed at the same time as the conditions of artistic pro- 
duction. But, as far as concerns the most ancient period 
with which we have to deal, investigations into the litera- 
ture have remained from an iconographical point of view 
as sterile as the researches on the spot. For the moment the 
history of rehgious art in India, previous to Buddhism, is, 

(i) M. Besnier, Les Catacomies de Some, Paris, 1909, pp. 204, 208, 223- 

(2) Cf. Scholia to Pdnini, V, 3, 99, excellently discussed by Prof. Sten 
KoNOw in his interesting Note en the use of images in ancient India (Ind. 
Ant., 1909) : but they have no value as proof for the pre-Mauryan epoch 
with -which we are here concerned. 


whether it must remain so or not, philologically a blank 
page, archseologically an empty show-case. 

That in Buddhism, as in all religions, art is at first 
only a simple manifestation of worship, every one will will- 
ingly admit. The only question is to know what branch 
of Buddhist worship has supplied this special excrescence 
with an opportunity for its production. It is evidently not 
in the periodical reunions of the monks that we shall find 
the smallest decorative pretext. The veneration shown to 
the mortal remains of the Blessed One explains the leading 
role of the funeral tumulus in Buddhist architecture. It will 
not escape us that it is still the same veneration which, thus 
advantaged, has offered in the obligatory surroundings 
of those rehquary monuments the natural support to the 
sculptures, the sole destination of which for a long time was 
to decorate the balustrades of the stupas. We might even 
suspect a mark of its influence in the almost entirely bio- 
graphical character that this decoration has assumed, just 
as, by the rite of circumambulation, it has fixed the direc- 
tion in which the scenes must succeed one another and be 
read. But, beyond this general orientation, we discover at 
the basis of this kind of devotion nothing that could have 
determined the mode of compositon of the bas-reliefs. 
There remains the third and last ancient form of Buddhist 
worship, that which Buddha himself is supposed to have 
taught on his death bed to his well-loved disciple, « There 
are four places, O Ananda, which an honorable worshipper 
should visitwith religious emotion. What are these four? »... 
They are, as we know, those where the Predestined One 
for the first time received illumination and preached and 
those where for the last time he was born and diedQ. Now 

(i) Mahdparinibbdna-suta, V, 16-22. 


just in this devout practice of the four great pilgrimages 
resides any hope which we have of at last coming upon the 
long-sought point of departure. In order that we may grasp 
atoncetlie germ and the directing principle of Buddhist art, 
it is necessary and sufficient to admit that the Indian pil- 
grims were pleased to bring back from these four holy 
places a small material souvenir of what they had there 

We can scarcely believe that the reader will refuse to 
grant us this small postulate. Can he be so ignorant of 
the outer world that he does not know the universal em- 
pire of the mania, innocent in itself, for souvenirs of tra- 
vels? The innumerable manufacturers and shopkeepers 
who everywhere live by it would quickly demonstrate it 
to him. Has he never in the course of his migrations, 
whatever may have been the object or the cause of them, 
bought curios, collected photographs, or sent away pic- 
ture post-cards? These are only the latest modes and a 
profane extension of an immemorial and sacred custom. 
If he doubts this, let him lean, for example, over one of 
the cases at the Cluny Museum (') which contain the 
emblematic metal insignia of all the great pilgrimages 
of the Middle Ages, as they have been fished out of the 
Seine in Paris. Mediaeval India has also left by hun- 
dreds evidences of this custom. Most frequently they 
are simple clay balls, moulded or stamped with a seal, and 
without doubt within the reach of all pockets, which 
served at the same time as memento and as ex-voto. They 
are to be picked up nowadays on all Buddhist sites, even 

(i) Unless it is more convenient for him to try the same experiment at 
the British Museum, where a case in the Medieval Room also contains a 
collection of these signacula. 


in the peninsula of Malacca and in Annam Q. Do we 
compromise ourselves very much by conjecturing that 
these sacred emblems are in Buddhism the remains of a 
tradition which goes back to the four great primitive pil- 
grimages ? The worst that could result from it would be 
that Buddhist art must have owed its origin to the satis- 
faction of a need everywhere and always experienced, and, 
we may almost say, of one of the religious instincts of 
humanity. It would be difficult to imagine a theory more 
humble and more prosaic : it is in our opinion only the 
more probable for that, nor do we see what other we 
can substitute, if, at least, we are unwilling to attribute to 
that art any but a rational origin. 

In fact, this point once gained, all the rest follows. 
Nothing is more easy than to guess what must have been 
the souvenirs brought back by the pilgrims from the four 
great holy places. To take the modern example mostfstmi- 
har to the French reader, what is represented by the images 
or medals offered for sale and bought at Lourdes? First and 
foremost,, the miraculous grotto. What must have been 
represented on stuffs, on clay, wood, ivory, or metal by 
the first objects of piety manufactured at Kapilavastu, at 
Bodh-Gaya, at Benares, or at Kuginagara? Evidently the 
characteristic point towards which, at the approach of each 
of these four towns, popular devotion was directed. Now we 
know these points already from the picturesque expres- 
sions of the texts. What was first visited at Kucinagara 
was the site, very soon and quite appropriately marked by 

(i) For specimens from India, see Cunningham, Mahdbodhi, pi. XXIV; 
J. R. A. S,, 1900, p. 432, etc. ; from Burmah, ArdiBol. Survey of India, 
Annual Teport, 1905-1906, pi. LIII; from Malacca, Bull, de la Commission 
Archiologique de I'lndo-Chine, 1909, p. 232; from Annam, B. E. F. E.-O., 
1901, p. 25, etc. 


a stupa ('), of the last death of the Master. In the same way, 
the essential miracle of Benares having taken place at the 
« Mriga-dava », the Gazelle-park, it was inevitable that its 
consecrated description as « putting the wheel of the law 
in motion » should be translated in concrete terms by a 
wheel, usually accompanied by two gazelles. What was 
contemplated at Bodh-Gaya, on the other hand, was the 
evergreen fig-tree, at the foot of which the Blessed One 
had sat to attain omniscience. Finally, what would be 
worshipped at Kapilavastu ? Here the answer is less cer- 
tain ; undoubtedly the great local attraction consisted in 
the recollection of the nativity of Buddha ; but, without 
mentioning his paternal home, the most ardent zeal might 
hesitate between the place of his material birth and that 
of his spiritual renaissance, between the parkof Lumbini, 
where he issued from the right side of his mother, and the 
no less famous gate, through which he escaped from the 
miserable pleasures of the world. Whatever might in this 
case be the difficulty of choice, with regard to the three 
other sites at least no hesitation was possible. A tree, a 
wheel, a. stupa, these suffice to recall to our memory the 
spectacle of those holy places, or even, by a constant asso- 
ciation of ideas and images, to evoke the miracles of which 
they had been the theatre. Again, these things could be 
indicated as summarily as one could wish : if human 
weakness cannot dispense with the material sign, imagi- 
nation makes up for the poverty of artistic means. 

(i) « A Stupa of A^oka », says Hiuan-tsang; that is, of archaic form ; cf. 
alsoFa-hian (Beal, Records, I, p. ui, and II, p. 32). 



Such is the sole part which hypothesis plays in our theory. 
The whole subsequent development of Buddhist art flows 
logically from these premises ; and henceforth there are none 
of the still surviving documents which do not successively 
corroborate the various stages of its evolution. The oldest 
monuments which have come down to us from Indian 
antiquity are a few rectangular coins of copper or silver. Now 
it is very remarkable that, among the symbols with which 
they are punch-marked, the tree, the wheel and the stupa 
play a considerable, and indeed, on many of them, a predo- 
minant part Q. Thanks to the chance of their discovery, 
the existence of the signacula, which we imagined to have 
been made for the use of pilgrims, ceases to be, for as far back 
as we can go, a pure conjecture (see pi. 1, B, C, D). Better 
still, we can clearly discern in the infantile simphcity of 
these emblems the style of the most ancient manifesta- 
tions of the rehgious art of the Buddhists. They are, properly 
speaking, less images than hieroglyphics endowed for the 
initiated with a conventional value : and, at the same time, 
we succeed in explaining to ourselves what we have already 
more than once had occasion to note, that is, the abstract 
and quasi algebraical character of this art at its commence- 
ment Q. Moreover, we easily conceive that, in conse- 
quence of being conveyed beyond the great centres of pil- 

(i) To quote only the latest study, cf . D. B, Spooner, A new find of punch- 
marked coins, in Arch. Survey of India, Annual Report 1^0 ^-1^06, 1909, p. 150. 
According to the excellent analysis which Dr. Spooner has given of this dis- 
covery, out of 61 coins 22 bear all three synabols at once and 22 others as- 
sociate the two last together. 

(2) Cf. for instance, Art greco-houddhique du Gandhara, p. 608. 


grimage, artistic emblems of this sort may have seen 
their initial signification modified. They came, by degrees, 
to be regarded less as mementos of sacred spots than as 
figurative representations of miracles, the memory of v^hich 
was connected with those places. In other words, in pro- 
portion as they were propagated further and further from 
their place of origin, their topographical and local character 
diminished more and more, to the advantage of their sym- 
bolical and universal value, until they ended by becoming 
the common patrimony of the image-makers and being 
fabricated everywherewithout distinction where a Buddhist 
donor ordered them. It is just this state of diffusion and 
subsequent generalisation that is proved to us even in the 
IV"* century by the banality and dispersion of the so-cal- 
led « Buddhist » coins. 

But we must hasten, in this rapid sketch, to come to the 
monuments whose Buddhist character can no longer be 
disputed. We know what impulse was towards the middle 
of the third century given by the imperial zeal of Acoka 
to the religious foundations of the sect. It is, therefore, only 
the more curious to observe how, even a hundred years after 
him, the school of Central India continues to follow faith- 
fully in the beaten track of the past. From this point of view, 
the four gates of Sanchi, which we have had the good fortune 
to retain almost intact, may furnish a fairly safe criterion of 
the degree of persistence of the ancient usages. Now Fer- 
gusson long ago remarked there the extreme frequency of 
what he called « the worship » of the tree, the stupa and 
the wheel. According to statistics hardly open to suspicion, 
since they were drawn up in support of theories quite diffe- 
rent from ours, the first emblem is repeated no less than 
67 times, the second 32 times ; and if the last does not 
reappear more that 6 times, this number suffices, never- 


theless, to assure it the third place in the order of impor- 
tance of the subjects ('). We have not, of course, to follow 
Fergusson in the strange anthropological speculations 
which he has engrafted on to these observations. All that 
we should be tempted at first to read in his table would 
be the preponderance of the miracle of the Sambodhi, or of 
the Parinirvdna, over that of the Dharmacakra-pravartana. 
In reality the larger number of the first two symbols de- 
pends upon another cause. The artists proceeded to apply 
to the Buddhas of the past the formulas which had 
at first served for the Buddha of our age. People 
were pleased to level all the seven by representing them 
at one time by their funeral tumulus, at another, and 
much more frequently, by their empty throne under 
their Tree of Knowledge Q : the wheel alone had re- 
mained the special apanage of our ^akya-muni, and con- 
sequently was repeated only at rarer intervals. But these 
are only subsidiary details ; taking these figures all together, 
their imposing total testifies loudly enough to the cons- 
tant repetition in traditional form of what we know, from 
the evidence of the coins, to have been the first attempts 
at Buddhist art. Being forced to cover the relatively 
extensive surfaces placed at their disposal, the sculptors of 

(i) Cf. Fergusson, Tree and Serpent-Worship, a""* edition, 1873, pp. 105 
and 242. Here is the table, in which he has included the data of the sole 
gate of one of the small neighbouring siupas : 


Great Siiipa. South Gate i6 

North Gate 19 

East Gate 17 

West Gate 15 

Small Stupa. Only Gate 9 

(2) See helovt, Eastern Gate of Sdnchi, pp. 72 and 104. The decisive reason 
for the predominance of the inspired compositions of the type of the Sam- 
bodhi over all the others will be given a little further on, p. 19. 










Sanchi evidently commenced by re-editing profusely, right 
in the middle of the second century before our era, the 
summary and hieroglyphic compositions which they had 
inherited from their direct predecessors, the makers of 
religious objects in the fifth century (see pi. II). 


This is a first and certainly very important, but purely 
material, verification of our hypothesis. There are proofs 
more subtle than the proof of statistics, which open up 
deeper views of the development of the ancient Buddhist 
school. The years have passed, technical skill has increased, 
the iconographic types of gods and genii have been formed, 
the gift of observation and a sense of the picturesque have 
awakened in it :but it remains nevertheless, as regards the 
capital point of the figuration of Buddha, the docile cap- 
tive of custom. Around the old themes of the studios, it 
embroiders, it is true, some variations : it embellishes 
the stupas, surrounds the wheels with wreaths, or, care- 
less of the anachronism, gives beforehand to the tree 
of the Sambodhi the curious stone surround which, more 
than two and a half centuries after the miracle, it owed to 
the piety of A?oka (*) ; but for all that it does not go beyond 
the ancient formulas. Weary of eternally repeating the 
sacred miracles, does it risk treating some still un- 
published episode? The idea of taking advantage of this, in 
order to break free from routine, never occurs to it. It can- 
not but know that its business is no longer to supply pil- 
grims with a memento of what they had seen with their 
own eyes in the course of their visits to the sacred places ; 

(i)See below. Eastern Gate of Sdnchl, p. 102. 


it is fully conscious that what it has now to do is to illus- 
trate on a permanent monument the biography of Buddha; 
but it appears hardly to grasp clearly the fact that for this 
new purpose the old procedures, formerly perfectly appro- 
priate to their object, are no longer suitable. Evidently, it 
was too late to rebel and to shake off the yoke of an artistic 
tradition which had ere long been strengthened by religious 
legends ; at least it is about this same time that the texts, 
until then silent on the question, suddenly decide to pro- 
claim — with an excessive precipitation to be contradicted 
soon after by posterity — the previous incapacity of the 
artists to portray during his hfetime the ineffable linea- 
ments of the Blessed One ('). And how otherwise, in 
fact, explain the persistent absence of his image, whilst so 
many of the popular divinities were paraded on the pillars 
of Barhut and Sanchi ? 

Henceforward there is only one way, in conformity with 
the hving reality, of conceiving the study of the ancient 
Indian school. Its history is that of a struggle, more or less 
surreptitious, between the two tendencies which divided it 
against itself, an irrepressible desire for new scenes and 
a superstitious respect for its precedents. On the one 
hand, it experiences a growing need for the form of Buddha 
to serve as a centre or pivot for the scenes of his life ; and 
on the other hand, it accepts as an axiom that, in order to 
represent the Blessed One, it suffices to do what until then 
had always been done, that is, to evoke him by the sight of 
one of his three speaking emblems. Watch it at work. The 
tumulus of the Parinirvdna, the ultimate end of the career 
of the Master, was ipso facto beside the point, when it was a 
question of representing some incident in that career. The 

(i) Divydvaddna, p. 547, 


symbol of the wheel, specialized in the representation of the 
« First Preaching », could scarcely be employed again, 
except on the occasion of the similar miracle wrought at 
^ravasti for the greater confusion of the rival sects ('). 
There remained for ordinary employment in miracles of 
the second rank the heraldic emblem already utihzed for the 
Sambodhi. And, in fact, we can well see how the studios of 
Central India resign themselves once for all to this proce- 
dure and accommodate themselves more or less success- 
fully thereto. All the same, they cannot resist slipping in 
here and there a few variants, or even trying on occasions 
some different course. It is under an empty throne, sur- 
mounted by a tree, that at Barhut Buddha receives the 
visit of the ndga Elapatra; when he preaches in the heaven 
of the Thirty-three Gods, the motif is in addition graced 
with a parasol; and this latter, in its turn, takes the place 
of the tree on the occasion of the visit of Indra or Ajata- 
^atru. At times the throne by itself does the work. In two 
cases, on the eastern gate of Sanchi, the school even ventures 
so far as to avail itself solely of the « promenade », 
or cankrama, of the Master in order to suggest his pre- 
sence Q). But the boldness of its innovations goes no 
further, and we very quickly reach the limits of its auda- 
city. We have indeed sketched them above (pp. 4-5), and 
it would have been superfluous to return to the matter, 
did we not now believe that we have divined the raison d'etre, 
and actually the manner of production, of the strange ano- 
malies which at the beginning of this study we had to 
confine ourselves to stating. 

We have, likewise, explained above how — and now we 

(i) See below, Essay VI. 

(2) Cf. Cunningham, Stupa of Barhut, pi. XIV, 3; XVI, 3; XVII, i; 
XXVIII, 4 etc., and below, Eastern Gate of Sanchi, pp. 93 and 100. 


understand why — the artists came into collision with 
the impassable barrier of ancient usages, when they had to 
represent the form of the Predestined One in the course 
of the first twenty-nine years of his life, at the time when 
his princely surroundings still hid under a mundane 
cloak the Buddha about to appear. In truth, we were not 
able as yet (p. 13) to determine exactly, by the aid of 
the texts, which episode of his youth the faithful had cho- 
sen as the principal object of commemoration, nor in 
what manner the old image-makers must have set to work 
to commemorate it. It is curious to note that the sculptors 
of the second century shared our perplexities in this 
regard. Those of Barhut adopted the precise moment when 
the Bodhisattva descended into the bosom of his mother, 
when, at least, the latter dreamed that he descended there 
in the form of a little elephant ('). Those of Sanchi 
do not represent the Conception, save incidentally; on 
the other hand, they complacently detail all the circum- 
stances of the prince's entry into religion, that is, of his 
flight on horseback from his native town : they portray 
the gate of the town and several times the horse, the 
groom and the Gods : they leave to be understood only the 
hero of this Hegira ('). As to those of Amaravati, on the 
stelas where they have set one above another the four 
grand miracles, they employ indifferently, in order to 
fill the panel reserved for Kapilavastu, — side by side 
with the tree of Bodh-Gaya, the wheel of Benares and 
the stupa of Ku^inagara (see pi. II, 2) — now the same 
cc great abandonment of home », where we see nothing 
but the horse passing under the gateway, now a « nati- 

(i) Cunningham, Stiipa of Barhut, pi. XXVIII, 2. 

(2) See hdow Eastern Gate of Sanchi, pi. 75 and p. 105 (cf. pi. X, i). 


vity », where we see only the mother, to the exclusion 
of the new-born child ('). Which of these three compo- 
sitions (see pi. Ill) is the most archaic and best preserves 
for us the aspect of the « souvenirs » which the pilgrims 
of the fifth century were already able to purchase at Kapi- 
lavastu? This is a question which we at present find very 
difficult to answer. If, again, on this point we confide our- 
selve to the numismatic documents, they will persuade us 
that from the beginning a certain wavering manifested 
itself in the choice of the artists and the faithful. Most ot 
the Buddhist coins devote two abbreviations, instead of one, 
to the Nativity alone; at least, of the five usually associated 
symbols, the lotus, the bull, the tree, the wheel and the 
tumulus, the two first must correspond simultaneously to 
the first of the four great miracles. Apparently, the lotus 
recalled those which had sprung up spontaneously under 
the seven first steps of the Master, whilst the bull, 
almost always flanked by his zodiacal emblem, incarn- 
ated the traditional date of the birth, the day of the full 
moon of the month Vaigakha (see pi. I, A). On other 
occasions, but more rarely, the bull is replaced by an ele- 
phant, a plastic reminder of the Conception (^). It may be 

(i) Fergusson, Tree and Serpent-Worship, pi. XCIII-XCVIII. With regard 
to this we may note that much later stelas of Benares continue to groupe 
in the scheme of Kapilavastu the birth (with or without the conception, the 
seven steps, or the bath) and the great departure (see pi. IV, 3 A and cf. 
Anc. Mon. Ind., pi. 67-68, etc.). 

(2) Cf. the tables of D. B. Spooner, loc. cit., pp. 156-157. As for the 
above mentioned interpretations of the lotus and the bull, we, for our 
part, give them as simple conjectures. In any case, we may at this point 
observe that in later Buddhism the lotus has retained the symbolical signifi- 
cation of « miraculous birth ». and that the bull appears again with its astro- 
nomical value on one of the best-known bas-reliefs of the Lahore Museum 
(cf. A. GRiiNWEDEL, BuddUsHsche Kunst in Indien, 2<i ed., p. 121, or Bud- 
dhist Art in India, p. 129). The lamented D'Th. Bloch in one of his last 


also, although we possess no concrete proof of this, that 
the gate through which the Bodhisattva had been cast 
by his vocation out of the world may, at an early date, 
have found copiers and amateurs. But these are merely 
accessory questions : what is important here is that only 
the traditional avoidance of images, inherited from the 
humble pioneers of former days, can give us the key to the 
later improbable compositions, child-births without chil- 
dren, rides without riders. 


This is not all. The sculptors of the second century verify 
our hypothesis not only in what they reproduce and in 
what they imitate of the works of the past : we may main- 
tain that they do this, also, indirectly, in what they inno- 
vate. However unreflecting and mechanical their submis- 
sion to custom may have been, the forced absence of the 
protagonist from the scenes of his own biography could 
not help but inconvenience them considerably. Let the 
career of the Blessed One be no m,ore than a monotonous 
tissue of conversations more full of edification than move- 
ment ; yet only a small number of episodes allowed of 
being portrayed independently of the principal personage. 
With the aid of what subjects were the artists to cover the 
numerous medallions, the long stretches, or the high gates 
of the stupa balustrades? The first expedient of which they 

articles (Z. D. M. G. 1908, vol. LXII, pp. 648 and sqq.) thought he reco- 
gnised in a defective photograph of this bull Virith the hanging tongue the 
image of a wild boar, and he built up a whole theory on this mistake : it 
suffices to refer the reader anxious to clear up this matter with his own eyes 
to Bdrgess, Anc. Mon. Ind., p. 127. 


bethought themselves was to turn to the previous 
existences of the Master, at the time when under all animal 
torms, and later under all social conditions, he was quali- 
fying by means of perfections for the final attainment of the 
Bodhi. Thereby we explain why the sculptors of Barhut 
preferred to dip into this treasure of tales and fables ('). 
In treating this new matter they were no longer trammel- 
led, as when illustrating the last life of the Master, by a 
custom which had been elevated into a law. Accordingly 
they have no scruples in representing the Bodhisattva in 
each scene, and it is with a perfect Hberty of mind that, 
at the time of his penultimate terrestial existence, they give 
to Vicvantara the features which they so jealously abstained 
from lending to Siddhartha (cf. above, p. 6). Representa- 
tions oi jdtakas are far from being unknown at Sanchi : but 
the decorators of the gates had recourse once again to ano- 
ther stratagem in order to shp between the links of tradi- 
tion. It goes without saying that in all the scenes posterior 
to the Parinirvdna the absence of the figure of the Blessed 
One became perfectly justified and at the same time ceased 
to be an inconvenience to the artist. Thus, they soon took 
pleasure in cultivating this part of the Buddhist legend. 
According to all probability they began by illustrating the 
famous « war of relics », which the death of the Blessed One 
nearly precipitated. Encouraged, apparently, by this trial, 
they did not fear to attack even the cycle of Acoka and to 
represent at one time his useless pilgrimage to the stupa at 
Ramagrama, and at another his solemn visit to the tree of 
the Sambodhi Q. Thus, under the pressing incentive of 
necessity, the native school, incapable of openly shaking 

(i) See below, Representation of Jdtakas on the Bas-reliefs of Barhut (Essay U). 
(2) See below, Eastern Gate of Sanchi, pp. 78-79 and 108-109. 


off its slavery, had artificially created for itself a double 
means of escape, in the legends previous to the last renais- 
sance or posterior to the final death of Buddha. For our 
part, we do not doubt that, if it had continued to develop 
normally and according to its own rules, we should have 
seen the number of these sham historical pictures or these 
illustrations of popular stories increase at the expense of 
the old fund of pious images. 

It is no longer a secret to anyone that the regular sweep 
of this evolution was brusquely interrupted by a veritable 
artistic cataclysm. The Hellenized sculptors of the north- 
west, strangers to the native tradition of Central India, 
satisfied to the full, and even outwent, the wishes of their 
Buddhist patrons by creating for their use the Indo-Greek 
type of Buddha. Immediately their colleagues of the low 
country, seduced by this wonderful innovation, greeted 
with no less enthusiasm than the laity the rupture of 
the magic charm which had weighed so heavily and 
so long upon the ancient Buddhist school. We have 
already remarked upon the fact of the rapid diffusion of the 
new type (p. 7) : it is now clear to us that its adoption 
did not come into direct collision with any dogmatic pre- 
judice. Always docile interpreters of current ideas, the texts 
set themselves henceforth to guarantee, by the aid of 
apocryphical traditions or an abundance of miracles, the 
authentic ressemblance of those portraits whose possi- 
bility they were a moment ago denying (*). The reason is 

(i) By apocryphal traditions we mean those relative to the statue of san- 
dal wood, carved even during the life-time of Buddha and attributed by 
Fa-hian (trans. Legge, p. 56) to Prasenajit of Qravasti, and by Hiuan-tsano- 
(trans. Stan. Julien, I, pp. 283 and 296) to Uda5'ana of Kaucambi, whose 
example had only been imitated by Prasenajit (cf. Beal, Records, I, p. xliv 
and 235 ; II, p. 4). As regards the miracles, see those which are related to us 


that, in reality, the new mode (see pi. IV) did not ex- 
pressly infringe any ritualistic prohibition : it did nothing but 
overthrow the artistic procedures of composition, and the 
bonds which fell were of a purely technical kind. We have 
seen clearly enough how the image-makers of the basin of 
the Ganges had slowly suffered the spider's web of custom 
to weave itself around them, and how, not daring to tear 
it apart, they had already endeavoured to free themselves 
from it. Under the stroke of the revelation which came to 
them from Gandhara their emancipation was as sudden 
as it was complete : but even through this unexpected 
development we are prepared to follow up the test to which 
we have submitted our theory and from which it seems to 
us to have so far issued with honour. 

The history of the ancient regime in Buddhist art prior 
to the Gandharian revolution may, in fact, be summed up 
somewhat as follows. We have every reason to suppose 
that there was, first, from the fifth century onwards, local 
production at the four great centres of pilgrimage, and con- 
veyance into the interior of India, of rude deUneations 
copying the « sacred vestiges » actually still visible above 
ground in the sites of the miracles. It was these natu- 
rally unpeopled tableaux which, thanks to time and dis- 
tance, ended by being regarded as systematic representa- 
tions of the four principal episodes in the life of the 
Blessed One, and which, joined to some routine variations 
composed in accordance with the same formula, served, 
before as well as after A^oka (middle of the third century B. 
C), for the decoration of religious foundations ; finally, on 
the monuments of the second century (still before our era) 

concerning the image of the temple of Mah^bodhi by Hiuan-tsang (trans. Stan. 
JDLIEN, I, p. 465 ; Heal, II, p. 120) and Taranatha (trans. Schiefner, p. 20). 


we remark already tentatives towards freedom from the 
tyranny of the ancient customs by recourse to subjects 
previous or subsequent to the last existence of Buddha. 
However, the school of the north-west comes on the scene. 
By reason of the very fact that it has been almost entirely 
removed from these traditional influences, it must, in our 
system, present characteristic signs quite different from 
those of the ancient school. Now, the conclusions of an 
extensive study which we have long dedicated to the 
Greco-buddhist bas-reliefs, seem to have conspired in 
favouring, point for point, the reverse of the preceding 
propositions. What we have observed at Gandhara is, first, 
the almost total disappearance of legendary scenes later 
than the cycle of the 'Parinirvdm, as also a marked 
diminution in the number of jdtakas; in the second place, 
there is an indefinite multiplication of episodes borrowed 
from the youth or the teaching career of the Master, whose 
corporeal image occupies now the centre of all the com- 
positions; finally and correspondingly, there is an extreme 
rarity of symbolical representations ('). In any case — and 
this is our concluding argument — the old emblems do 
not disappear completely. Not only at Gandhara, but even 
on the latest productions of mediaeval India, not to men- 
tion the Lamaist images of the present day, these survivals 
of a former age continue to manifest themselves. If the 
stupa is regarded as having on nearly all the new represen- 
tations of the Parinirvdm become superfluous, the Tree of 
Knowledge never fails to rear itself behind the Buddha of 
the Sambodhi, whilst the wheel between the two gazelles, 
either back to back or face to face, continues to mark the 
throne of his First Preaching (see pi. VI, 2). And thus 

(i) Cf. Art greco-iouddhique du Gandhara, pp, 266, 270,427 etc. 


the decline of Buddhist art is linked to its most distant 
visible origins, the only ones (need we specify?), which have 
been taken into consideration here ('). 

Such, at least, is the theory which we could not refrain 
from submitting to the appreciation of Indianists. 
Taken altogether, it is only an attempt at synthesis, an 
effort first to coordinate logically, then to organize in 
accordance with the laws of an historical development, a 
series of facts already known. In this sense there is not 
one Buddhist archaeologist, commencing with Fergus- 
son and Cunningham, who has not contributed to it, 
and it may be found more or less devoid of originality. 
Our whole ambition would be precisely that it should 
give, when read, the impression of being already public 
property. That would be the best of symptoms ; for none 
is better adapted to produce a belief that — except for the 
retouches which the progress of research will inevitably 
give to it — it is destined to endure. 

(i) Cf. Art greco-bouddhique, figg. 208 and 209 and Iconographie bouddhique 
de I'Inde, figg. 29 et 30 : the latter is a representation of the Parinirvdna, still 
surmounted by a stupa. 


Cf. pp. 14, 21. 

The elements ot this plate have been obligingly . sketched by 
M. Lemoine, Professor of Drawing at the Lyc^e at Quimper, from 
the following publications : A. Cunningham, Coins of Ancient India 
(London, 1891) ; Vincent Smith, Catalogue of the Coins in the Indian 
Museum, Calcutta (Oxford, 1906); D. B. Spooner, A new find of punch- 
marked coins (in Arch. Surv. of India, Annual Report, ipoj 6, pp. 150 
sqq.) : cited respectively as C, Sm., Sp.. 

A. i(C.,pl. XI, 2, 4); 2 (C, pi. I, I, 5, 6); 3 (Sp-,pl. LIVfl, 
3, 14); 4 (Sm., pi. XIX, 13) : variants of the lotus, the symbol of the 
miraculous birth of the Bodhisattva. The most characteristic form, 
with eight petals, is found on the coins of Erin (no. i) : we give here 
in addition two fantastic, but current, forms — composed of three para- 
sols and of three ((taurines ov nandi-padas,{vamed{no . 2),or not (no.3). 
in petals — and one quite stereotyped form (no- 4). 

5 (C, pi. I, 23 or pi. II, 8 etc.); 6(Sm., pi. XX, 8); 7 (C, pi. 11, 20) ; 
8 (Sm., pi. XIX, 15, etc.) : variants of the « taurine » or nandi-pada 
symbol, denoting the zodiacal sign Taurus, the Bull (Ski. Tdvura), 
which, during the month of Vaigikha (April-May), presided over 
the Nativity of the Bodhisattva. The most simple form, and the star- 
ting-point of the development, is composed of a point surmounted 
by a crescent (no. 5). In the most elaborate form a vardhamdna, a 
trifdla, or even a triratna have in turn been detected : we do not per- 
ceive any reason why in becoming more complicated it should have 
changed its name and signification. 

9(C.,pl. Ill, 2); 10 (C, pi. I, 26): II (C, pi. Ill, 3); 12 (C, 
pi. Ill, 2) : from the Buddhist point of view these four sacred animals 
typify respectively, the elephant the Conception, the bull the (date of 
the) Nativity, the horse the Great Departure, and the lion, generally, 
the « lion among the ^akyas » {^dkya-simha, that is ^akya-muni). 

B. I (Cpl.I, i); 2 (Sm., pi. XIX, 11); 3 (C , pi. II, 7-8); 4(Sm. 
pi. XX> 5) : variants of the tree of the Perfect Illumination (^Sambodhi). 
Nos. I and 2 present fairly well the form of the leaf of the afvaitha, or 
ficus religiosa ; the foot of the tree is always surrounded by a railing. 

C. I (Sm., pi. XIX, i,etc.);2 (C, pi, III, 13): variants of the Wheel 
of the Law (Dharmacakra). On no. 2 it is surrounded by small parasols. 

D. I (C, pi. I, 4, 5) ; 2 (Sp., pl- LIV b, 1, 13); 3 (C , pi. II, 15) ; 
4 (Sm., pi. XX, II, 12) ; variants of the stupa, or tumulus, of the 
Parinirvdna. Later the form of no. i was mistaken for a bow with its 
arrow ; we seem to recognize in origin a stdpa crossed by the staff 
{yashti) of its parasol (chattra) : we need only compare the parasols 
which enter into the composition of the lotuses of nos. A. 2 and 3. 


PL. I 


□ □ 


□ D 

Icirf ^ 





Cf. pp. 17, 20, 73, 148. 

The three S^nchi panels belong to the western gate of the great- 
stApa, B to the front facade, C and D to the rear : the photographs 
were kindly lent to us by Mr. J. H. Marshall. — The stele of Ama- 
rivati is reproduced from the photograph published by Fergusson, 
Tree and Serpent Worship, 2°'' ed., pi. XCIV. 

B. Miracle of the Perfect Illumination {Samhodhi), near to Gayi ; 
represented by a tree above a throne. Note the characteristic leaf of the 
tree of ^ikya-muni (cf. pi. I, B). 

C. Miracle of the First Preaching, or Putting in motion the Wheel 
of the Law (JDharma-cakra-pravartana), near to Benares ; represented 
by a wheel above a throne. 

D. Miracle of the Final Extinction {Parinirvdna), near to Ku^ina- 
gara; represented by a stilpa. 

Worshippers — on the earth human and of both sexes, in the air 
divine — press round each of these symbolical representations. Those 
in the top corners of B i and D i have a human bust terminating in 
the stereotyped body of a bird. We are not long in remarking the 
constant contrast, both in the material objects and in the persons, be- 
tween the still heavy and clumsy style of S4nchi and that of Amari - 
vati, almost too elegant and affected. What here concerns us most is 
that the fundamental identity of the subjects is not in the slightest- 
degree compromised by these differences of treatment. 



£i£imi£ tc E5£5?E 





Cf. pp. 21, 148. 

r. The three Gandh^ra panels are reproduced : A', from a photo- 
graph taken by the author in the Lahore Museum; A', from a photograph 
in the Lahore Museum, copy kindly lent by Prof. A. A. Macdonell; 
A', from a photograph by Mr. A. E. Caddy in the Calcutta Museum. 
— 2. The three Amar^vati panels : A', from a photograph taken by 
the author in the Madras Museum (Cf. Burgess, Buddhist Stapa of 
^mardvali, pi. XXVIH, i) ; AS from Fergusson's photograph, Tree and 
Serpent Worship, pi. LXV, 3 ; A', from the same source, pi. XCVL 3- 
The locality of the scene is in all cases Kapilavastu. We shall not 
here insist further on the differences of type, costume, furniture and 

A'. The Conception {Garbha-avakrdnti) : the Bodhisattva descends 
into the right side of his mother's bosom in the form of a Httle 
elephant. The school of Amaravati always places at the four cardinal 
points of the room the four Lokapdlas, or Guardians of the World; 
but sometimes, as here, it forgets to represent the elephant, and. as 
little as at Barhut (Cunningham, pi. XXVIII, 2) and at Sinchi (see infra, 
pi. IX, 2, at the top), does it think of making Miy^ lie in such a 
manner that she can properly present her right side to the Blessed 
One. The school of Gandh^ra is never guilty of these negligences, 
which are contrary to the letter of the texts (Art g.-b. du Gandh , I, 
figg. J49 and 160 a ; cf. however ibid., fig. 148, from Amar^vati). 

A2. The Nativity Qdti) : the Bodhisattva issues from the right flank 
of his mother, who is standing and holding a branch of a tree. There- 
fore in both views we see in the centre of the composition May^ 
standing, with one arm raised, between the gods on the right and her 
women on the left. But it will be noticed tliat on this occasion also 
her attitude is in Gandh&ra more rational, leaving free the right hip, by 
which the child is supposed to issue. As regards the latter, who on the 
panel at Lahore is perfectly visible, we perceive at Amaravaii only the 
imprint of his sacred feet on the cloth, which is held by the four Lcka- 
pdlas together, and no longer by Indra alone. 

A°. The Great Departure (^Mahdbhinishkramana') : the Bodhisattva 
leaves his native town on horseback. At Amarivati we perceive only 
the gate of the town (cf. the gates at S^nchi on our pll. VI- VII) and 
the riderless horse, preceded by a god and followed by a squire holding 
the parasol. In Gandhira the indication of the gate has in our repro- 
duction (but cf. Art g.-b. du Gandh., I, fig. 187) been cut away; yet 
Chandaka is to be seen holding high the parasol, while Yakshas raise 
the horse's feet and Mira, armed with his bow, stands at its head. 
Above Chandaka, again, is seen a half-length figure of Vajrap^ni, armed 
with his thunderbolt, and above Mira, between two divinities, the 
personification (recognizable by the turreted crown) of the town of 
Kapilavastu. Finally and above all, the Bodhisattva is this time shown 
on the back of his horse. 







Cf. pp. ^5-26, r..{ 




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The Representations of "Jatakas" 
on the Bas-reliefs of BarhutQ. 

Ancient India has bequeathed to us a considerable mass 
of texts and a very restricted number of sculptures : this 
means that for our instruction concerning its civilization 
we possess many more written documents than carved 
monuments. The latter deserve all the more to attract our 
attention. Their most ancient remains may, in fact, furnish 
us, as regards the external appearance and the material side 
of Indian life in the second century before our era, with a 
number of concrete and precise details which we should 
never have been able to expect from the most extensive or 
the most profound study of the literature. I hasten to add 
that I do not conceive the identification of these works of 
art as possible without their confrontation with the texts. 
These latter alone can help us to understand the mute 
language of the stones and, even in the absence of any 
explanatory inscription, to assign names to the characters, 
speech to the gestures, in one word titles to the subjects. 
In practice it is precisely thus that matters fall out. 
We find ourselves possessing in the holy scriptures of Bud- 
dhism a ready made commentary for the greater part of the 
surviving ancient bas-reUefs ; and these pieces of sculpture, 
rare or scattered though they be, are, for their part, a mine 
of illustrations quite appropriate to as many episodes of the 
Buddhist legend. You divine without difficulty the interest 

(i) Lecture at the Musee Guimet, in Bibliotheque de vulgarisation du Musee 
Guimet, vol. XXX, 1908. 



of this intimate accord between the written and the figured 
versions of the same stories and the advantage still to be 
obtained from it for the comprehension of both. This is 
what I should like to verify experimentally by study- 
ing, in accordance with the texts and the monuments, 
the traditions relating to some of the previous existences 
of the Buddha (Jakya-Muni. For this purpose we will 
make use, on the one hand, of the PaU collection of the 
Jdtakas (*) and, on the other, of the bas-reliefs of the stupa 
of BarhutQ. From their rapprochement will quite natu- 
rally emerge for our convenience a small illustrated collec- 
tion of some twenty-five Indian tales; and you shall judge 
if I exaggerate their charm. 


The Jdtakas. — I owe however (by way of preface) 
some explanations which may allow you better to under- 
stand the meaning and more to enjoy the flavour of these 
tales and images, as amusing as naive. But these necessary 
explanations may be extremely brief, and it will suf- 
fice if I rapidly recall to your mind three essential notions. 

The first is that, according to Indian ideas, every living 
being, whoever he may be, is not only sure of dying : it 
is no less certain that he must be born again in one of the 
five conditions of lost soul, ghost, animal, man or 

(i) Jdtaka, dd. Fausb0ll, 6 voll. iti-S" and one volume of index, London, 
1877-1897 ; translated into English under the direction of Professor E. B. Co- 
well, 6 voll. in-8°, Cambridge, 1895-1907. 

(2) Cunningham, The Stupa of Barhut, London, 1879 (published by order 
of the Secretary of State for India, who has kindly authorised the repro- 
ductions given in this book). — Cf. S. d'Oldenborg, Notes on Buddhist 
Art, St. Petersburg 1896 (in Russian; translated into English in the Journal 
oj the American Oriental Society , XVIII, I, Jan. 1897, PP- 183-201). 


god; after which he will have to die again, in order to be 
born once more, and so on for ever, unless he attains sal- 
vation, which is nothing else than the final escape from 
this frightful circle of transmigration. 

The second point is that not only the attainment of this 
deliverance, but the conditions even of each of the ephe- 
meral existences are regulated automatically by a moral 
law as general and as unavoidable as the physical law of 
gravity, the law of « works », or (to employ a Sanskrit 
word, the use of which has been popularized by the theoso- 
phists) of Karma. At the death of each being there is 
drawn up a kind of debit and credit account, with assets and 
liabilities, between the sums of the merits and demerits 
accumulated by him in the course of his anterior exist- 
ences : and an immediate sanction, resulting mechani- 
cally from this simple mathematical operation, fatally 
decides his future destiny. 

In the third place, it is a belief no less generally admitted 
in India that whoever has attained to sanctity possesses, 
among other supernatural faculties, the privilege of remem- 
bering his past existences and even those of others. This 
gift of extra-lucid intuition, or, as it was called, of « divine 
sight », no one, of course, was considered to possess 
in a more eminent degree than Buddha. Now it was, we 
are told, his habit, with regard to incidents arising in the 
bosom of his community, to point or justify his prohib- 
itions or his precepts by the opportune reminiscence ot 
some analogous occasion which had already confronted 
him in the course of his previous lives. 

These three points agreed, all becomes perfectly clear. 
We admit fully henceforth that ^akya-Muni, like all 
others, must have traversed a long series of successive re- 
births. We understand, also, why he accomplished on the 


way so many good actions, displayed so many virtues, rea- 
lized so many superhuman perfections : nothing less was 
required to enable him to acquire merits capable of con- 
veying him to the supreme dignity of Buddha. Nor could 
we get our information concerning his past lives from 
a better source, since — if we believe the tradition — 
it is from the mouth of the Master himself that the story 
had been gathered before being consigned in writing to the 
works which have come down to us and which it would 
be useless to-day to enumerate and criticize. If we proceed 
to make use of the Pali collection, it is not that I am 
under any illusion as to the antiquity of the prose com- 
mentary on the versified, the only canonical, part C) : 
the reason for this choice is simply that, as containing 
nearly five hundred and fifty narratives, that collection is 
by far the most considerable of all. 


The Bas-reliefs of Barhut. — Thus famiharized afresh with 
the jdtakas, you will not be surprised to note that the sculp- 
tors charged with the decoration of the ancient Buddhist 
edifices of central India have drawn copious inspirations 
therefrom. Not only did they, as we beheve we have 
demonstrated above Q, feel themselves under less restraint 
in the treatment of subjects of this kind, but moreover 
no subject could answer better to the needs and the 
aim of the artist. Seeing that it was a question of religious 
foundations, thai aim was quite naturally the edification 
of the faithful, both sedentary and pilgrim : and what could 

(i) On this subject see below, essay VII on the Saddania jataka 
(2) See^ p. 23. 


be more edifying, in default of scenes derived from the last 
life of the Master, than narratives of which he himself had 
previously been the hero before becoming the narrator? On 
the other hand, their familiar and picturesque character fit- 
ted in marvellously — certainly much better than moral 
considerations or metaphysical speculations — with the 
exigences of an art so concrete as sculpture and necessita- 
ting so much precision in material detail. Thus the good 
stone-cutters of Barhut and Sanchi have had recourse, like 
the sculptors of our cathedrals, to the treasure of their « Gold- 
en Legend », and have created, by the very force of things, 
a plastic art at once narrative and religious, which recalls in 
many ways the formulas of our artists of the Middle Ages. 
Thus it is, for example, that they did not, any more than 
these latter, prohibit the juxtaposition of episodes and repe- 
titions of persons in the framework of one and the same 
panel. We shall have many opportunities of remarking this 
naive proceeding. 

But it is well to form beforehand some idea of the 
monuments which these bas-reliefs adorned. The Buddhist 
sanctuary was preeminently the stupa, that is the « tumu- 
lus », and its principal role was to cover up a deposit of 
relics. As we see it in India from the third century before 
our era, it was already a stereotyped edifice of brick or 
stone, which presupposed the art of the architect and utili- 
zed that of the sculptor. Its chief feature was a full hemi- 
spherical dome, usually raised on a terrace. This dome, 
which was called the egg (andd), supported a sort of kiosk 
(harmika), itself surmounted by one or several parasols, an 
emblem of which you know the honorific signification in 
the East. The whole was surrounded, like all sacred 
places in India, by a high barrier, at first of wood, then 
directly imitated in stone from its wooden prototype. This 

34 jAtakas at barhut 

enclosure was flanked at the four cardinal points by monu- 
mental gates (toranfl), with triple curved lintels of which 
we have fine examples at Sanchi (*). On the most ancient 
specimens from the basin of the Ganges the decoration was 
strictly limited to the doorways and railing. At Barhut 
medalhons were strewn over the upright pillars and cross- 
bars of the latter, whilst all along the inner face of the 
coping further motifs were ensconced in the intervals of 
the undulations of a serpentine garland. You will recognize 
one or other alternative of this double provenance in all 
the reproductions which are about to defile before your 
eyes (PI. V-VI). 

One last question : Why have we chosen by preference 
the bas-rehefs of Barhut? The answer is easy : because most 
of them are accompanied by an inscription written in the 
oldest alphabet of central India, the one which towards the 
middle of the third century before our era was used by the 
famous king Agoka for his pious edicts. On one of the 
jambs of the eastern gate, found in situ, we read, in a 
somewhat later script, a mention of the ephemeral suze- 
rain dynasty of the ^urigas, which succeeded the Maur- 
yas towards the year i8o B. C. ; it relates to the 
erection of the gate, or, to be more exact, the replacement 
an old wooden model by a « stone work » ; and thus we 
feel certain that towards the end of the second century 
the final touch must have been given to the decoration of 
the stupa, commenced, no doubt, during the third. This is 
not all. Among the hundred and sixty graffiti, more or less, 
observed on the recovered debris of the balustrade more 
than half are restricted to giving merely the name of 
the donor, male or female, of such and such a pillar or 

(i) See below, pp. 65-66, and cf. pi. VII and VIII, i. 


such and such a transverse bar; but the rest give us expli- 
cit information concerning the subjects which the sculp- 
tures claimed to represent. Thus we have to deal with bas- 
reliefs sufficiently dated and identified beforehand by their 
authors for the benefit of their contemporaries and of the 
most distant posterity. In the moving sands of Indian an- 
tiquity we can find no better data, nor firmer ground on 
which to work. 


The animals. — After this indispensable preparation we 
may with full knowledge broach the examination of the 
twenty-five jdtakas, of which, possessing the text, we recog- 
nize also the representation . A perfectly natural plan will be 
imposed upon us : it will be, if we may so express it, the bio- 
graphical sequence of these successive lives, as well as the 
hierarchical order of the conditions into which the future 
Buddha had successively to be born. We shall see him 
mount one by one the rungs of the ladder of beings, first 
animal, then woman, and finally man. And indeed, putting 
aside all one's complacency as Indianist, I do not think that 
the imagination of any race has ever created a finer or 
vaster subject for a poem than this destiny of a single being 
in whom are shown all aspects of life, in whom is concen- 
trated all the experience of past ages, in one word, in whom 
the evolution of the entire human race is reflected. Unfor- 
tunately, as usually happens in India, the execution comes 
infinitely short of the conception. To sum up in one work, 
spacious and substantial, in view of the immense and varied 
career of the Predestined One, the original Indian system ot 
the universe, would have required the powerful constructive 
genius of a Dante : Buddhism had not that good fortune. 


And this is why we do in Indian literature not meet with 
more than scattered fragments of the epic of the Bodhi- 
sattva, or future Buddha, 

To-day we are concerned only with the period of 
his previous lives, beginning with the most humble of 
them : but even within these Hmits we cannot help but 
regret the manner in which the monks, more solicitous for 
edification than for poetry, have bungled the subject. In the 
same way as, according to the naturalists, the embryo of 
mammaha reproduces in the course of its development 
the divers characteristics ofthe inferior species, so we should 
like to follow through the course of the animal forms 
which he remembered having assumed one after the other 
— fish, reptile, bird, quadruped, quadruman — the whole 
embryology of a Bodhisattva. But for that we should 
have to give ourselves up, in the midst ofthe disorder — or 
of the still more outlandish order (') — of the texts, to a 
veritable task of patchwork, joining together here and there 
the scattered portions of a poem which was never written. 
Evidently the idea of following out any series and grada- 
tion whatever did not occur to the minds of the compilers 
of these stories. We must say in excuse for them that the 
theory of evolution troubled them, for reasons easy to 
guess, much less than it does us. Furthermore, if they 
are incapable of composing a harmonious whole, they 
make up for it in detail by the naive savour and, at times, 
humourous attractiveness of their style : it is impossible to 
deny them a veritable talent as narrators. Once we have 
renounced for them higher ambitions, the compensation 
will appear to us very appreciable. Their stories of ani- 

(i) We know that in the Pali collection of Jdtakas, for example, these are 
classed solely according to the increasing number of verses which they 
contain, without regard to subject. 


mals form in fact a veritable « Jungle Book » long before 
that which did so much for the reputation of Rudyard 
Kipling : moreover, the latter was, in his, directly inspi- 
red by popular Indian tradition. 

Let us examine first the stories which present ani- 
mals only, and which, consequently, are pure « fables ». 
There were related in India two thousand years and 
more ago tales with which we are still to-day familiar 
from infancy. I will cite, for example, that of « the Tor- 
toise and the two Ducks », which is depicted already on the 
ancient balustrade of Bodh-Gaya. Among the fragments of 
Barhut which have survived until our time we do not find 
any equally celebrated. On the other hand, when we see the 
Bodhisattva appear there, he has already arrived at the state, 
or if you prefer, at the genus of bird. 

I. Here (Cunningham, XXVII, 11) in his character of 
royal swan he refuses, if we may so express it, the « hand » 
of his daughter to the peacock, in spite of his magnificent 
plumage and because of his indecent dance (Jdt. 32). 

II. There (Cunningham, XLV, 7) under the form of a 
pigeon, he reprimands the lazy and gluttonous crow, whom 
the cook punishes so cruelly for an attempted raid upon 
his pots(/4^ 42; cf. 274 and 375). 

III. Elsewhere (Cunningham, XLVII, 5) he is the cock 
perched on a tree, who wisely resists the treacherous 
seductions of a she-cat {Jdt. 383). — La Fontaine (^Fables, 
II, 5) says : of a fox. 

IV. Still further on (Cunningham, XXV, 2), born an 
elephant, he exterminates, with the help of his faithful wife, 
a terrible enemy of his race, an enormous crab, cc as broad 
as a threshing-floor », which, in order to devour them, 
had Ridden itself at the bottom of the lake in which the 
pachyderms were accustomed to bathe (Jdt. 267). 


V As we cannot see all in detail, I will detain you 
only a moment with the fifth jdtaka, spoken (and even 
written) of as « of the Quail ». As usual, the text (/i/. 3 5 7) 
indicates first of all on what occasion the fable was related . 
It was not the first time that Devadatta, the traitor cousin 
of Buddha and the Judas Iscariot ofhis legend, proved the 
hardness of his heart. At that time the Bodhisattva was 
born in the form of an elephant, chief of a troop of 
80,000 others — India is very fond indeed of this round 
number. A quail, which had made her nest within their 
pasture ground and whose young, scarcely hatched, were 
still incapable of moving, begs him to spare her offspring. 
He wilHngly consents to this, and by his orders his 
80,000 subjects respect the young birds as they file past : 
doubtless, this is what they are in the act of doing on the 
right lower part of the medallion (pi. V, i).But he warns 
the quail that a fierce solitary is following him. The latter, 
deaf to all prayers, crushes the nest : you perceive one o^ 
the young ones under his right hind foot, exactly on the 
edge of the break in the stone, whilst the weeping mother 
is perched on a tree in front of him. But vengeance is not 
long delayed : for already on the bulging forehead of the 
cruel elephant a crow is busy, pecking out his eyes with its 
beak, whilst a big « blue fly » deposits its eggs in the 
sockets. A third ally of the quail, its gossip the frog, is sea- 
ted at the top of the medallion in a conventional rocky 
landscape. Its role, in the story as on the bas-relief, is by its 
croaking to attract the enormous animal, which is blind 
and burning with fever, by making it believe in the proxi- 
mity of water. Thus it leads him right to the edge of a 
sharp precipice, where he falls headlong : only his hind 
part has not yet quite disappeared into the abyss. Appli- 
cation : the Bodhisattva was the leader of the troop of 


elephants, D^vadatta was the solitary. — « Well, what 
about the quail »,you will ask. — You desire to know too 


The Bodhisattva under an animal form and mankind. — 
In these five fables man does not intervene. Here are five 
others in which he is seen and, at first, hardly to his credit. 

VI. In order to follow up the two preceding births, let 
us take a new one in the form of an elephant and even 
of an elephant « with six tusks » Qdt. 514). The wonder- 
ful animal is standing in the foreground, leaning against the 
banyan tree (pi. XXIX, i) which the oldest tradition assigns 
to him for a shelter. Behind him, likewise in profile, is his 
first wife, her left temple adorned with a lotus, whilst, 
seen full face in the background, his second wife, furious 
at not having herself received any such flowery ornament, 
is showing unmistakable signs of jealous anger. She goes 
so far as to suffer herself to die of hunger, while forming the 
aspiration of being born again as a woman and becoming 
queen of Benares. Scarcely has her double wish been ful- 
filled than she charges the cleverest hunter in the country 
to carry out her vengeance. Hidden at the bottom of a pit, 
the latter discharges a poisoned arrow into the bowels of 
the elephant, as is written and is elsewhere found figured, 
on the sculptures of Amaravati and of Gandhara. But at 
Barhut, when we again (on the left of the medallion) see 
the hero of the story, it is already the moment when, 
wounded to death and practising the virtue, which was 
Buddhist before becoming Christian, of pardoning all 
oJ0Fences, he docilely stoops down, in order to allow his 
enemy to cut off his triple tusks with the help of an enor- 


mous saw. We must turn to the Pali collection or to the 
paintings of the Ajanta Caves to learn that the wicked 
queen, at the sight of the tusks of her former husband, 
which her emissary brought back to her, felt nevertheless a 
revulsion of conscience, of which she died heart-broken Q. 

VII. No less naively illustrated is the ne-birth as an 
antelope, kurunga. On pi. V, 2 we read as plainly as in the 
text {Jdt. 206) that there were once an antelope, a tortoise 
and a wood-pecker, which, united by friendship, lived toge- 
ther on the shores of a lake in the depths of the woods. 
The antelope has just been caught in a trap : and, whilst 
the tortoise exerts itself to gnaw through the fetters, the 
wood-pecker, represented a second time on the right, does 
all that it can, in its character of bird of ill-omen, to 
delay the coming of the hunter. Soon — but no room could 
be found in the picture for this second adventure — the 
antelope will in its turn deliver the tortoise : 

Ainsi chacun en son endroit 
S'entremet, agit et travaille, 

as we are told by La Fontaine, who to our trio of friends 
has added also a rat {Fables, XII, 15). 

VIII. Another medallion (pi. V, 3) contains no less than 
three episodes. At the bottom the tender-hearted stag, ruru, 
saves the son of the merchant, who was going to drown 
himself in the Ganges, and brings him on his back to the 
bank, where one of his roes is stooping to drink at the river. 
At the top, on the right, the king of Benares, guided by the 
young merchant, who is evidently acting as his infor- 
mant, is preparing with bent bow to kill the great rare 
stag, the object of his desires as a hunter. But the words ad- 

(i) We shall have an opportunity later (Essay VII) of recurring more in 
detail to the Saddanta-jdtaka (cf. pi. XXIX and XXX). 


dressed to him by the latter quickly cause the weapons to 
fall from his hands, and we find him again in the centre 
in edifying conversation with the wonderful animal, whilst 
the treacherous informer seems to be hiding behind the 
royal person. We know from another source that the 
Bodhisattva, always charitable, intercedes with the king in 
favour of his perfidious debtor Qdt. 482 ; not to be confused 
with 12). 

IX. Of the two births as ape, which we meet next, the 
one (Jdt. 516) contains a story with a quite analogous 
moral, but the bas-relief is very much damaged (Cunnin- 
gham, XXXIII, 5), A Brahman, saved by the Bodhi- 
sattva, who rescues him from the bottom of a precipice, 
repays him with the blackest ingratitude, attempting to 
assassinate his benefactor during his sleep. On this occa- 
sion also the magnanimous animal forgives. 

X. More original and much better preserved is the other 
jdtaka of Mahakapi (Jdt. 407; pi. V, 4). At that time the 
Bodhisattva was in the Himalayas, king of 80.000 monkeys, 
and he took them to feed upon a gigantic mango-tree — 
others say a fig-tree, and the bas-rehef agrees with this — 
whose fruits were delicious, but the branches of which unfor- 
tunately spread over the Ganges. In spite of the precautions 
prescribed by the foreseeing wisdom of the « great mon- 
keys, a fruit, hidden by a nest of ants, escapes the investi- 
gations of his people^ ripens, falls into the stream of water, 
and is caught in the nets which surround the bathing-place 
of the king of Benares. The latter fmds it so much to his 
taste that, in order to procure others like it, he does not hesi- 
tate, when he has obtained information from the « wood- 
rangers » , to follow the river to its source, until he arrives at 
the wonderful tree. At night the monkeys gather together 
as usual : but the king of Benares has the tree surrounded 


by his archers, with fixed arrows and only awaiting the day 
to begin the slaughter. There is alarm in the camp of the 
Bandar-log, as Kipling expresses it. Their leader reas- 
sures them and promises to save their lives. With a 
gigantic spring, of which he alone is capable, he clears a 
hundred bow lengths as far as the opposite bank of the river, 
there cuts a long rattan, the one end of which he fixes to 
a tree on this bank, whilst he attaches the other to his foot, 
and with another spring returns to his own people. But 
the vine which he has cut is a httle too short, and it is only 
by stretching out his hands that he can reach the branches 
of the fig-tree. Nevertheless, the 80,000 monkeys pass over 
this improvised bridge and descend in safety on the other 
side of the river. This latter is, as usual, indicated by 
sinuous lines, in which a tortoise and some fish are swim- 
ming. But already two men of the court of the king of 
Benares are holding by the four corners a striped coverlet, 
into which the Bodhisattva, exhausted with fatigue, has only 
to let himself fall when the last of his subjects has been 
saved. At the bottom (and this is the second picture within 
the frame) we find him sitting in conversation with his 
human colleague, who is amazed at his vigour, his inge- 
nuity, and his devotion to his people. Between them a 
person, of whom we see only the bust and the hands 
respectfully joined together, is, if we may judge from the 
absence of the turban, a man of low caste, apparently that 
one of the « wood-rangers » who guided the royal caravan 
towards the Himalaya. 


The Bodhisattva in human form and animals. — In this 
last narrative the king of Benares gives a proof of good 


feeling : therefore he is presented to us as an ancient incar- 
nation of Ananda, the well-beloved disciple. In the four 
preceding fables man appears to us in the odious form of 
a hunter, except when he reveals himself as a monster of 
ingratitude, whilst the brute continues to show an example 
of the most difficult virtues. However, we must not be in 
too great a hurry to conclude that, in the Jdtakas, the better 
part always belongs to the animals : in fact, it only falls to 
them when they incarnate the Bodhisattva. In other words, 
in the Buddhist adaptation to which these tales have been 
subjected the Bodhisattva has been incarnated in animal 
form only in those cases where it was decidedly more 
flattering to be beast than to be man. Here are four other 
examples which will abundantly prove to us that ingrati- 
tude, foolishness, the aggressive instinct, and dishonesty are 
not, in the minds of our authors, the privilege of humanity 
alone, as you might have been led to believe. The stories 
ought indeed to come a little later in the plan which we 
have adopted, since the Bodhisattva is there already cloth- 
ed in the human form par excellence, I mean that of a man : 
but for the advantage of warning ourselves against a wrong 
idea it is worth while slightly to disarrange the hierarchical 
order of the sexes. 

XI. Do you desire further simian stories? Look on the 
left of pi. VI, I atthis young novice, or Brahmanic student, 
who is giving a thirsty monkey something to drink. Now 
he goes away towards the right, having loaded on his 
shoulders, at the two ends of a stick placed like a balancing 
beam, his two round pitchers, suspended in nets of cord 
after the manner of the time and of the present day; mean- 
while the animal, who has mounted into the tree again, 
makes grimaces at him as a reward for his charity : « Oblige 
a villain, and he will spit in your face », says our proverb. 


If we are to believe the text, the monkey did worse still on 
the head of the Bodhisattva, a thing which is quite among 
the habits of these horrid beasts. It is needless to repeat to 
you that he was none other than Devadatta Qdt. 174). 

XII. Another time Qdt. 46 and 268), a gardener, wishing 
to take his hoHday, has charged the monkeys which haunt 
his garden to water it in his stead. And in fact they set 
about it with pitchers (pi. VI, 2); but on a suggestion ot 
their king, who by nature prefers to do things methodi- 
cally and does not intend his water to be wasted, they 
begin by pulling up every shrub in the nursery, so as to 
measure by the length of its roots the exact quantity of 
water which it will require. The Bodhisattva is the « wise 
man », who enters by the left and surprizes them while 
thus occupied. He does not restrict himself to stating that 
hell is paved with good intentions : there is no lack of 
moralizing, also, about the stupidity of the king of the 
monkeys : if he is the most intelligent, what must be 
thought of the rest of the troop ? 

XIII. On another fragment of the coping (Cunningham, 
XLI, 1-3) is figured in two successive scenes the story of a 
stupid fighting ram, who is inspired by his warlike instincts 
to charge a Brahmanic ascetic : we must say in his excuse 
that the latter was wearing a garment of skin (Jdt. 324). 
The whole humour of the affair is that the monk imagines, 
at the moment when the ram stoops, ready to rush upon 
him, that even the beasts bow before his worth. It is 
in vain that a young merchant, no other than the Bodhi- 
sattva, warns him of his imprudent mistake : there he is 
soon on his back, upset along with the double burden 
which he was balancing on his shoulder. 

XIV. Again in another place it is the turn of the Bodhi- 
sattva to carry the water-vessel and wear the big chignon 


and the summary costume of an ascetic (pi. VI, 3); and it is 
in this guise (and not that of a tree-god. as the commentary 
gives it, Jdt. 400) that he is present as a simple spectator 
at a very amusing scene. Two otters, by uniting their efforts, 
have dragged a big fish to the dry ground on the bank of a 
river, the one holding it by the head, the other by the tail; 
but, their united exploit accomphshed. they quarrel about 
the sharing of the booty and take a passing jackal as arbiter. 
The latter is represented twice, first seated between the 
litigants, then walking proudly away to the right : he is 
carrying the best piece in his mouth and leaving to the two 
deceived otters only the head and tail of their prey. The 
moral is easily guessed. The text states very explicitly that 
the best law-suits in the world only serve to enrich the 
coffers of the king; and you, for your part, have in the 
« Jackal and the two Otters » already recognised an Indian 
variant of the « Oyster and the Litigants »of La Fontaine. 
XV. For the rest we must not in the presence of the 
extreme variety of these tales claim to set up too general 
rules. A little further on (pi. VI, 4) animals reappear 
side by side with another identical incarnation of the 
Bodhisattva, and this time they play a most honou- 
rable part. The bas-relief is here much simplified in 
comparison with the version of the Jdtaka (488), which 
gives to the hero a sister, six brothers and two servants. At 
Barhut we see at his side only a woman — likewise clo- 
thed in the ascetic costume — who may very well in the 
intention of the sculptor be the wife of his lay years, 
and of whom the Pali prose, with its accustomed and 
perhaps excessive modesty, will have made his sister : has 
it not been bold enough Qdt. 461) to give us Rama as the 
brother, and not the husband, of Sita? On the other hand, a 
monkey and an elephant likewise take part in this scene, ■ 


unless the latter is merely the mount of ^akra : for the 
cc Indra of the Gods » looks upon it as a duty to bring 
back the bundle of lotus stalks (rather similar to our 
bundles of asparagus and just like those which I have seen 
sold, nowadays, in Kashmir, in the market of Srinagar), 
which gave its name to the story. That is all the food of 
the ascetic, and on three days in succession ^akra, in order 
to prove him, has stolen it, but without succeeding in 
moving him. At the moment when he repents, each one 
of the characters, both human and animal, was about to 
exonerate himself from this theft by a veracious oath, even 
the monkey declaring himself incapable of it; for, it is said 
somewhere, « in the company of saints everyone becomes 
a saint ». 


The Bodhisattva and women. — With these reserva- 
tions, these two series of examples, preserved by chance, 
suffice to prove what I was just now saying concerning 
the double attitude of the Jdtakas with regard to animals. 
If from the beasts we now pass — without any idea of 
comparison, be it said — to the women, we observe that 
at the very first the same distinction seems necessary. 
Either we are in the presence of one of those beautiful 
types of faithful wife which are an honour to Indian litera- 
ture, and then we may safely wager that the Bodhisattva 
is this time incarnated in the feminine form; or else it is 
a masculine role which is assigned to him, and in this case 
the texts, giving free scope to an instinct for satire worthy 
of our Gaul of the Middle Ages, becomes inexhaustible on 
the subject of the malice and perversity of the fair sex. 
The stories which they tell of it (we shall, of course, 


adduce only those which are figured, more or less, at 
Barhut) lack neither raciness nor verve. In fact, whilst the 
stories which have come before us up till now were pro- 
perly fables, we have now to do with the kind of jolly 
tales which in the Romance languages of mediaeval 
Europe were called « fabliaux » or « fableaux ». 

XVI. On a medalhon which can hardly with propriety 
be reproduced (Cunningham, XXVI, 7), we witness 
the conception and birth of the rishi Rishya^rihga (Ante- 
lope-horn) or Ekagririga (Unicorn), as celebrated in 
the Brahmanic epic as in the Buddhist legend. Son of 
an anchorite and a roe, he knows nothing of a sex to 
which he is not even indebted for his mother, and conse- 
quently he will be an easy prey to the first women he 
meets. On this common trunk are grafted two groups of 
stories. In the first, the young hermit is scarcely adolescent 
and lives with his father. A neighbouring king, in order 
to put an end to a famine, or simply because he has no 
son, forms the design of taking him for his son-in-law : 
and his own daughter, or, in the less ancient versions, 
some courtesans charge themselves with the task of leading 
him astray and bringing him back to the court Qdt. 
526; Mahdvastu, III, 143; Mahdbhdrata, III, 110-113 etc). 
Without great difficulty they succeed, as soon as the father 
has turned his back, being helped as much as they could 
desire by the naive candour of the young man, who as yet 
has seen nothing of the world, for whom a rebounding ball 
seems a marvel, who takes cakes for delicious fruits without 
pips, and who calls carriages « moving huts ». He appre- 
hends still other causes of amazement, not less ingenious, 
but already less innocent, at the aspect, so new to him, of 
his feminine visitors: and you can easily conceive that this 
theme of the spontaneous awakening of the sexual instinct 


in the most ignorant of young men should have served as 
an example to Boccacio and for a story to La Fontaine 
{Conies, III, i, « The Geese of Brother Philip », taken from 
the preamble to the fourth day of the Decameron). 

Of the second form of the legend the clearest summary 
that we at present possess has been preserved to us by the 
Chinese pilgrim Hiuan-tsang with reference to a ruined 
convent of Gandhara, in the extreme north-west of 
India. « It was in this place, he tells us, that formerly there 
lived the mk' Unicorn; thism^f, having allowed himself to 
be led astray by a courtesan, lost his supernatural powers; 
the courtesan mounted on his shoulders and thus returned 
to the town » (cf. Jdt. 523 ; DagakumAracarita^ II, 2 etc.). Here 
there is no longer any question of the father of the hermit, 
and the age of the latter is left undetermined. On the other 
hand, what we are told of him reminds us of the fables 
detailed in our relations of animal stories, the so-called « Bes- 
tiaria » of the Middle Ages, concerning the Unicorn which 
only a young girl is able to capture : « And she (says 
their source, the Physiologus) commands the animal and it 
obeys her; and she leads it away to the king's palace ». Why 
there rather than elsewhere? This unexpected trait forms, on 
the contrary, an integral part of the adventure of the shy 
anchorite Unicorn, whom the king's daughter very natu- 
rally leads to her father, or whom the courtesan has wagered 
that she will bring back to the court. And, again, the 
piquant detail that this latter mounts astride on the shoulders 
of the wise rishi awakens invincibly the memory of the 
celebrated « Lay of Aristotle » . 

XVII. A fragment of another medallion, found only by 
the greatest chance, bears as title the three first words of 
the one stanza which constitutes the ancient nucleus of 
Jataka 62 : « The music that the Brahman... » :and, in fact, 


it shows US a caste man seated, with his eyes bandaged and 
playing the harp, whilst a couple dance before him (Cunning- 
ham, XXVI, 8). He is the chaplain of the king of Benares, 
and had, we are told, a habit of gaming with his master. 
But the king, each time he threw the dice, used, in order to 
bring himself good luck, to hum four verses, taken from 
some popular song, which were not very respectful 
to the virtue of women, and by force of this truth he 
won every time. The Brahman, in a fair way to being ruin- 
ed, gives up playing and decides to rear a new-born girl- 
child without her ever seeing any other man than himself. 
She has scarcely reached marriagable age when he, in his 
turn, challenges the king, whose word, having become false, 
is no longer efficacious, so that he loses game after game. 
Thwarted, and guessing what is the snake under the rock, 
he charges one of his agents to seduce the only real virtue in 
his kingdom . This plan does readily succeed ; and it must be 
believed that intelligence comes to a girl still more quickly 
than to a boy. The young novice's mind is so readily and 
so effectually enlightened, that she consents to organize the 
little scene of comedy represented by the bas-relief, and it is 
with her lover that she is dancing to the sound of the harp 
played by the Winded Brahman. I lay no stress upon the rest 
of the story or how she succeeds in exonerating herself 
by making a false oath true, a device equally well known to 
our folk-lore : the important thing is that in this Indian 
heroine you have been allowed to salute in passing the 
type of the eternal Agnes. 

XVIII. Even the single story consecrated to the praise 
of woman fails not to be well-known to our medisevahsts 
under the name of « Constant du Hamel ». Certainly, we 
must immediately deduct from this last story some 
details which truly smack too much of its native soil : I 


refer to the vengeance exercised by the villain on the 
wives « of the provost, the forester and the priest ». This 
manner of applying the law of retaliation, and even with 
interest — for the peasant does to another what the other 
has merely had the intention of doing to him — is a trait 
eminently GaUic ; and you will not be in any way astonished 
to observe that it was evidently the part which La Fon- 
taine desired to retain of the story, when he put it into 
verse in his tale of « the people of Rheims » : you will un- 
derstand no less clearly that the Indian versions contain 
nothing of the kind. For the rest, the accord would be 
truly too astonishing, if it were not a case of a borrowing 
by European literature from that of India {Jdt. ')46;Kathd~ 
saritsdgara, I, 4 etc.). Taken on the whole, it is the Pali text 
which most nearly approaches the bas-relief of Barhut 
(pi. V, 5) : there also Amara, the virtuous wife, whose 
husband is absent, has four suitors to whom she assigns 
an interview for each of the watches of the same night, 
and it is also in great esparto baskets that siie causes her 
tricked lovers to be packed by her servants. At the moment 
chosen by the sculptor we are in the midst of the court : 
the king is seated on his throne, surrounded by his minis- 
ters, and at his right side one of the women of the harem 
is waving a fly-flapper. Amara is standing on the other 
side, her left hand on the shoulder of her attendant, and at 
her order the covers of three of the baskets have already 
been raised and the heads of three of the dehnquents unco- 
vered, whilst two coolies bring the fourth. But the Singha- 
lese compilation dismisses this story jn ten lines, as an 
episode in a long narrative, and consents to see in Amara 
only the wife of the absent Bodhisattva : for it is quite 
resigned to represent the latter as an animal, a pariah or 
even a bandit, but never, no ! never, a woman, be she, as in 


this case, a paragon of all the virtues. If, however, we come 
to realize that the jdtaka in question has the honour of a 
complete medallion and that these representations have no 
edifying interest except on the condition that the future 
Buddha there appears in person, it will soon be granted 
that there are great chances that the sculptor regarded him 
as incarnated here in the feminine form. Even if the author 
had not himself made this identification, everything 
invited the spectator to do so. The inscription on the bas- 
relief (jvflfflw^//'ct%aw jdtakam) does not contradict it : for 
the Pali tradition also makes Amara to be born in one of the 
four suburbs Yavamajjhaka, situated at the four gates of 
the capital ofMithila. 

However it may be as regards this particular point, the 
tremendous buffoonery of the situation could not escape 
the worshippers, and they must have been at least as much 
amused as edified. If we ourselves look at it more closely, 
we shall not be able to avoid the impression that, with all 
her virtue, Amara was not exempt from mischief. Doubt- 
less she had recourse to the arsenal of her tricks only 
for a good motive ; but we tremble at the thought of what 
would happen to her husband, if this astute woman em- 
ployed in deceiving him a quarter of the mahce that she 
displays in keeping herself faithful. In one word, and 
with all taken into account, whether the story be written 
in praise of the fair sex or not, it is always the same crea- 
ture of perfidy, if not of voluptuousness, with whom we 
have to deal : or, to put it better, we observe that the quite 
monastic mistrust and aversion which Buddhism professed 
towards woman are (we may say) never disarmed. Of all 
the snares of Mara the Malignant, is she not the worst ? And 
was it not solely in the rupture of all family ties, com- 
mencing with the conjugal tie, that the assured pledge of 
salvation was supposed to be found? 


XIX. Among our bas-reliefs we find still another fairly 
picturesque illustration of this moral conception. Itis taken 
from the history of Mahajanaka (Jat. 539). A son, born in 
exile, of the widow of a king of Mithila, I will pass over 
the adventures which finally re-establish him on the throne 
which his uncle has usurped, and at the same time win 
for him the hand of his beautiful cousin Sivali. What is of 
importance tons here is the resolution, which he soon forms, 
of taking to the religious life and the useless eftorts to which 
his wife resorts in order to retain him in the world. At 
last he departs; but his wife belongs to that variety of 
woman which our writers of vaudevilles call « cHnging » ; 
and she obstinately adheres to his steps. Vainly does a 
remnant of politeness lead him to make use of various 
symbols in order to mark his decided intention to deprive 
himself henceforth of a companionship which he looks 
upon as an obstacle to his deliverance [: she will listen 
to none of them, not even the plainest, such as the one 
represented, with the names of the persons to vouch for 
it, on the railing at Barhut (pi. VI, 5). The king, who has 
already cast aside his diadem, is standing, still followed by 
the queen, in front of an armourer's bench and with the 
two first fingers raised is speaking in parables. The arti- 
zan is about to straighten an arrow which he has just put 
through the fire, and, closing one eye, is examining with the 
other whether it is straight. To a premeditated question 
from Mahajanaka he repHes that one can judge the straio-ht- 
ness of things much better with a single one eye than with 
two : for, except in solitude, there is no salvation for man. 
XX. This monkish moral is, however, susceptible of a 
quite touching revulsion, or rather of quite gracious over- 
sight. Evidently it was impossible for the compilers of this 
great collection of folk-lore to bring all the narratives 


within their narrow range of edification : and thus it is that 
a delightful story of love must have found grace in their 
eyes. It is not preserved to us at Barhut, except by a 
miserable sketch (Cunningham, XXVII, 12); but it is still 
in existence on the Boro-Budur of Java ('), where the 
human bust of the kinnara is no longer terminated by 
foliage, but by the body of a bird. The king of Benares, 
while out hunting, perceives a couple of these marvel- 
lous beings covering each other with caresses and tears. 
He questions them, and learns from the mouth of the 
woman — always the more talkative — that they were once 
separated by the storm and had to spend the night on 
either side of the river. Now it will soon be seven hun- 
dred years since this mischance, and their life is a thou- 
sand years : however, they have not yet quite conso- 
led each other for the separation of a few hours, and 
since then have been unable to help mingling tears with 
their caresses. — What an example for lovers, thinks the 
king ; and it will not surprise you to learn that, with the 
help of this simple legend, Buddha forthwith reconciled 
the king and queen of Kosala, very much in love with one 
another, who were sulking (/d^ 504; reject 481 and 485). 


The Bodhisattva and the castes. — This last story is less a 
a fableau » than a fairy tale. As for the preceding one, it 
should rather be classed in the category of those « exam- 
ples -B, wherewith our preaching friars of the Middle 
Ages were accustomed to stud their sermons. The five that 
still remain to be reviewed are all edifying stories which 

(i) See below, Essay VIII. 


similarly served the needs of the Buddhist preaching. They 
will perhaps seem to you only moderately amusing : 
but in India morality must always have its turn. In them 
the Bodhisattva is constantly reborn in the state of man, 
that state so difficult to attain, we are told, which, while 
the one most favourable of all to the acquisition of 
merits, is also the only one in which the candidate for 
the Bodhi ever has a chance of attaining his object. Each 
time this marvellous being, whatever may be his caste, 
astonishes us with the proofs of his skill, wisdom and 
disinterestedness : but it is especially in his royal births 
that he gives free course to his virtue. Let us not forget 
that the Buddhists professed to place the class of the Ksha- 
triya, or, as we should say, the nobihty of the sword, to 
which their Master belonged, above that of the Brahmans : 
naturally, we shall have to follow the order established by 
them in the hierarchy of the castes. 

XXI. The Bodhisattva knew all social positions, even 
that which consists in being under the ban of society, 
as is the case with the pariah. However, in the lowest posi- 
tion in which we recognise him on the bas-reliefs of 
Barhut, he has already arrived at the third class, that of the 
Vai^yas, that is to say, of peasant proprietor or town shop- 
keeper. It is as a son of a citizen of gravasti that by an 
ingenious stratagem he consoles his father, who was still 
inconsolable tor the death of his grandfather Qdt. 352; Cun- 
ningham, XL VII, 3). He brings water and food to the dead 
body of an ox, abandoned at the gates of the town ; and 
when his father, informed by friends, runs up to remons- 
trate with him, he answers him in the same tone and has 
not much trouble in proving to him that the more foolish 
of the two is not the one whom people think. For it is 
folly, according to Buddhist ideas, to weep for the dead. 


XXII. Elsewhere the Bodhisattva has become the Pandit 
Vidhura, minister of the king of Indraprastha. The fame 
of his wisdom and eloquence is so great, that the wife of a 
Naga conceives a fancy for hearing him speak. In order to 
make more sure of him being brought to her, the undine 
pretends to have a « desire », that of eating his heart. Behold 
the husband much disturbed : « As well ask for the moon », 
he remarks Qdt. 545). But what is there that women 
cannot do ? The four panels of one pillar are consecrated 
to the description of how the daughter of the Naga was not 
long in finding a young captain of the genii, who, for love of 
her « beaux yeux », charges himself with the commission; 
how the young gallant challenges the king of Indraprastha 
to play, and with one cast of the dice wins his minister 
from him ; how he vainly endeavours to kill the latter by 
throwing him down from the top of a mountain; and how, 
in the end, he decides to take him alive to the house of the 
Naga, to the great satisfaction of his future mother-in- 
law, who thus obtains from the mouth of the sage the little 
private lecture which she desired (Cunningham, XVIII). 
And, as is always the case with these Buddhist tales, all is 
well that ends well. 

XXIII. But, as I have told you, it is especially when the 
Bodhisattva is born again as a Kshatriya that his acts foretell 
the great renunciation of which he is to offer a perfect 
model in the course of his last existence. Once, at a time 
when human life was exceedingly long, he renounces 
the throne and the world from the moment of the appear- 
ance of his first white hair (JAt. 9). His barber is ordered 
to show it to him as soon as he perceives it : and it is for 
that reason that, on pi. VI, 6, he interrupts the combing of 
his master's long hair. King Makhad^va, although he still 
has 84.000 years to live, abdicates at once in favour of his 


son — apparently the third person in the scene — and 
retires to lead in his own park of mango-trees the ascetic 

XXIV. Another time he does not wait so long to abandon 
his throne, and he is still in full youth when he yields place 
to his youngest brother (Jdt. i8i ; Mahdvastu, II, 73). The 
jealousy and suspicions of the latter soon force him to go 
into exile, and, thanks to his talent as an archer, he earns 
his living in the service of a neighbouring king. The bas- 
relief represents this Asadisa at the moment when, by 
means of an arrow skilfully shot, he gathers for his master 
a mango from the very top of a high tree (Cunningham, 
XXVII, 13). The continuation ofthe story makes him again 
protect his ungrateful brother against the seven hostile 
princes who were besieging him, and finally he enters — or 
rather, according to the Indian expression, he « departs » 
— into religion. 

XXV. Once even it is from his earliest infancy that he 
gives evidence of his resolution to know nothing of 
this world, and he feigns to be dumb, deaf and para- 
lyzed (/flL 538). In vain are many experiments tried 
to prove him ; neither privations nor dehcacies, nor toys, 
nor noises, nor lights, nor fear, nor suffering, nor (when 
he is nearly sixteen years old) voluptuous temptations can 
draw from him a gesture, a cry, or any sign whatever of 
sensibility or intelligence. That is why you see him lying 
so stiff in the lap of his father, the king of Benares (pi. V, 6). 
The latter ends by becoming weary of such a son, and 
orders his chariot-driver to take him out of the town and 
bury him, dead or alive. Thus, at the bottom, we see Prince 
Semiya standing near an empty quadriga, whilst on the 
right the driver is busy with a hoe, hollowing out a grave. 
However, the prince suddenly decides to move and speak : 


but when his father, informed by the driver, runs up with 
his suite, full of joy, it is only to find him already trans- 
formed by the providential intervention of the king of the 
gods into an ascetic, and sitting in the shadow of the trees 
of his hermitage: and this forms the subject of the third 
and last episode, on the right top border of the medallion. 

The texts specify elsewhere that in this last existence the 
Bodhisattva had realised the perfection of « determination » , 
in the hfe of Vidhura (XXII) that of « wisdom », in that of 
Mahajanaka (XIX) of « heroism », in that of the ascetic 
with the lotus stems (XV) of « detachment », in that 
of the king of the monkeys (X) of « truth », in that of the 
stag (VIII) and the elephant with six tusks (VI) of « gene- 
rosity » ; and we know from a detached fragment that at 
Barhut also was seen the birth in which, under the name 
of Prmce Vi^vantara, he attained by the gift of his goods, 
his children and even his wife, the acme of « charity ». 
Thus we recognize on our bas-reliefs some of the most 
celebrated jdtakas; and of the ten cardinal virtues 
only « patience » , « benevolence » and « equanimity » are 
not represented by name. Further, we must not forget 
that the researches of Cunningham have collected scarcely 
more than a third of the railing : the rest had been carried 
away and destroyed by neighbouring villagers, and this van- 
daUsm justifies the precaution, taken by the English archaeo- 
logist, of transporting all that had survived to the Museum 
at Calcutta. Inversely, it is only right that I should warn you 
that we are far from having identified all the bas-rehefs which 
have been exhumed. We might draw up another list, almost 
as long, of those which still await (the greater number, but 
not all, for want of an inscription) a satisfactory explana- 
tion. Some motifs are evidently taken from jdtakas not to be 

58 jAtakas at barhut 

read in the Pali collection : and this is a salutary warning 
to us that the latter, considerable though it may be, is far 
from being complete. Besides, we might have drawn atten- 
tion in passing to a number of discordances in detail, as 
regards the treatment of subjects certainly identified, be- 
tween the prose part of this collection and the bas-reliefs, 
whilst we have remarked the almost literal harmony between 
a lapidary inscription and the text of one of the versified 
refrains known under the popular title of gdthd ('). But 
these are remarks which are of interest chiefly to specialists, 
I would mention only one point, namely, that they autho- 
rize us to believe that the sculptors of Barhut worked not 
in accordance with a given text, as did those of Boro- 
Budur, but according to a living tradition, as it echoed in 
their memory or was transmitted among them. 

I will add that they worked also according to nature : 
you have been enabled to judge for yourselves of their ho- 
nest care for true detail. Each photographic reproduction of 
their works has shown you, as through a window opening 
upon the past, the costumes, weapons, tools, furniture and 
vehicles employed in India two thousand years ago ; and 
thus in one hour they have given you through your eyes 
more concrete ideas about that civilization than you would 
have been able to acquire in a year's reading. But the greatest 
service that they have rendered us — for from it flow all 
the others — was when they carried their foresight to the 
point of engraving by the side of the majority of their com- 
positions the titles of the subjects which they had intended 
to represent. What gratitude ought we not to feel towards 
them for that just distrust of their own talent, so rare 
among artists! It has given us the key to ancient Indian 

(i) See below some remarks on the Saddatiia-jdtaka (Essay VII). 


art. So much modesty, sincerity and conviction, do they 
not go far towards making up for the lack of technical 
skill? I am sure you will not be severe towards them in 
this respect : and if these fables, these fabliaux and mora- 
lities, have interested your eyes no less than your ears, 
you will thank not only the narrators of them, but also 
the worthy old image-makers of India. 


The Barhut sculptures here reproduced are borrowed, with the 
permission ofthe Secretary of State for India, from the beautiful publi 
cation of General A. Cunningham, The StUpa of Bharhut (London, 

PI. V. I (C, pi. XXVI, s) : 
2 (C, pi. XXVII, 9) : 
» 3 (C, pi. XXV, i) : 

4 (C, pi. XXXIII, 4) 

5 (C, pi. XXV, 3) : 

6 (C. pi. XXV, 4): 

PL VI. I (C, pi. XLVI, 8) : 
» 2(C.,pl.XLV, 5): 

>, 3 (C, pi. XLVI, 2) : 

,, 4(C.,pl. XLVIII,7): 

5(C.,pl. XLIV, 2): 
„ 6(C.,pI. XLVIII, 2): 


on p. 




































PL. V 




«?-.'r:S|nwilET5»Wrw(^riD«r' CTrar-.'ri^' f*r> 


The Eastern Gate of the Sanchi Stupa <*> 

The visitor to the Indian Museum in London, the 
Musee Guimet in Paris, or the Museum fur Volkerkunde in 
BerHn, cannot fail to notice among the objects therein 
exhibited a monumental gate covered with bas-reliefs; but 
there is every chance in the world that he will confine 
himself to casting a quick, heedless glance towards it in 
passing. A reproduction of a remote Indian original, this 
moulding naturally cannot have any claim to speak to our 
European eyes or to awaken in our minds the remem- 
brance of any traditional legend. But then let us bring 
before it any native of India; he will remain as puzzled 
and, if he is candid, as silent as we. Do not, however, 
hastily conclude from this that these sculptures have 
never had any meaning for anyone, because to-day their 
compatriots themselves no longer understand anything 
about them. Only imagine a similar experiment to be 
tried with us, and that we were set down, for example, 
before one of the porches of the cathedral of Chartres ; 
how many would be able to read without preparation 
in the magnificent illustrated Bible so suddenly opened 
before them ? You know that in the eighteenth century no 
one would have been found capable of this : and in the nine- 
teenth it required a whole phalanx of patient investigators 
to rediscover the lost meaning of the scenes and figures 
painted on the windows, or carved under the vaults, by 

(i) Lecture at the Musde Guimet, in Bibliolheque de Vulgarisation du 
Musee Guimet, vol. XXXIV, 1910. 



our image-makers of the Middle Ages. The conditions are 
exactly the same for this. Gate of Sanchi; with time the 
subject of its bas-reliefs has ended by becoming, even for 
the descendants of those who once built or carved it, a 
veritable enigma. I invite you to join me in investigating 
its meaning. 

I will add that, disagreable or not, this research is a 
kind of obligation, which we may no longer with decency 
shirk. It was in fact the original building, and not 
the reproduction, that just missed coming to Paris. 
In 1867-8 the Begum of Bhopal was instigated to 
o£Fer to the Emperor of the French one of the four great 
gates of the stupa of Sanchi, that is to say, a portion of 
the most beautiful, and even of the unique architectural 
whole that we have retained from Ancient India. The 
Begum, indifferent, desired nothing better; but the English 
resident intervened, and this act of vandalism — we are 
all the more ready after this lapse of time to designate it as 
such, since the project fell through — was fortunately 
notperpetrated('). However, the Anglo-Indian government 
understood that there were there archaeological remains 
capable of arousing the interest of artists and scholars. From 
1 869 it caused to be executed at great cost several mouldings 
of the eastern gate, one of the only two which had remain- 
ed standing; and with great Kberality it divided them 
between London, Edinburgh, Dublin, Berlin, Paris, etc. 
The one which fell to our share had already known some 
vicissitudes, till at last it found an asylum — if not a shel- 
ter — in the courtyard of the Mus^e Guimet. On the 
other hand, this costly and somewhat embarrassing present 

(i) See RoDSSELET, rinde des Rajahs, pp. 522-25 and cf. H. Cole, Great 
Buddhiit Tope at Sanchi, introd. (Tope is the Anglo-Indian equivalent of the 
Sanskrit siupd) . 


has not yet been made in France the object of any special 
study. It is this too prolonged neglect that we are about 
to endeavour to repair. 


The Great Sdnchi Stiipa.— The numerous ruins which are 
scattered over the environs of the village of Sanchi-Kana- 
keda (in Sanskrit Kakanada), near to Bhilsa, are situated 
right in the heart of Central India, on the ancient commer- 
cial highway between Pataliputra (lla/aioepa, Patna), the 
capital of the Maurya emperors, and Bharukaccha (Bapjvavz, 
Bharotch or Broach) by way of Ujjayini ( 'OCVij Ujjain). 
Sanchi has now become a station of the Indian Midland 
Railway, and the expresses stop there by request to set down 
a few tourists. But it is doubtless to the abandonment 
of the ancient route and to the subsequent thinning of the 
population that the ancient Buddhist sanctuaries with which 
the rocky hill is crowned have owed their exceptional escape 
from the fanaticism of the Musalman invaders as well as the 
cupidity of the modern Hindus. Whilstat 300 kilometres to 
the North-East the contemporary and quite analogous stupa 
of Barhut, with which we shall so often have to compare it, 
had been three parts destroyed by the villagers of the 
neighbourhood, who made a business of exploiting it, the 
principal monument at Sanchi was still in an excellent state 
of preservation when it was visited for the first time, in 
1818, by General Taylor and described in 181 9 by Captain 
Fell. In compensation, it had much to suffer three years 
later from the brutal excavations inflicted upon it, without 
mercy for art and without profit to science, by some English 


amateurs Q). From 1881 to 1883 the Archaeological 
Department exerted itself to repair as well as possible this 
grievous devastation. They closed up the enormous, gaping 
breach, which had been made in one third of the central 
dome, under pretext of ascertaining whether it weresolidor 
hollow; they reerected (placing, it is true, several of the 
lintels so as to face backwards and overlooking in the debris 
some fragments of the jambs) the southern and western 
gates, the second of which had fallen only under the weight 
of the rubbish thoughtlessly thrown upon it; finally, with 
a zeal almost excessive, they cleared the whole site, without 
sparing a single tree. Fig. i in pi. VII, a kind of horseback 
view taken from the east in the rising sun , will explain to you 
better than long descriptions the state and general aspect 
of the building Q. 

Like every old stupa, it is composed essentially of a 
massive hemispherical dome, raised upon a pediment 
likewise circular, which was reached by a flight of steps. 
The whole was made of bricks covered with a stone 
facing, which in its turn was overlaid with a thick layer 
of mortar, still existing in places. The terrace, in this case 
4^,25 high and 1^,70 wide, served evidently as a promen- 
ade for the perambulations of the faithful. The dome — 
a kind of giant reliquary, though in the particular case 
the deposit of rehcs has never been discovered — measures 
1 2™, 80 in height, with a diameter of 3 2"^, 30. The only 
element to-day lacking to this developed tumulus is the 
architectural motif which served as a crown : but in thought 

(i) On all these points, see the Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, III, 
1834, p. 489, and IV, 1835, p. 712. 

(2) I owe the communication of this photograph and the following ones 
to the kindness of Mr. J. H. Marshall, the distinguished Director General 
of Arch£eology in India. 


it is easy to complete the whole by the aid of the bas-reliefs 
(see pi. VII. 2). They frequently reproduce the character- 
istic silhouette of this pinnacle, with the honorific 
parasol surmounting it, which must have raised the total 
height to about 25 metres. 

According to the invariable custom in India this 
sanctuary is surrounded by a stone railing, which protec- 
ted It from profanation, and which, in spite of its massive 
weight, is evidently an imitation of a wooden fence. In 
form slightly oblong, it measures across from east to west 
43'", 60, and from north to south i" 10 more, in order 
to leave room for the flight of steps. In the uprights, 
3™, 10 high, were fixed with mortises and tenons three 
cross-bars and one coping, the latter o™, 68 high. Atthefour 
cardinal points an opening was arranged in such a way that 
the breach was not apparent to the eye, masked as it was in 
each case by a double elbow in the enclosure. When 
it was thought to add fronting doors to these slanting 
entrances, it was necessary to attach the right jamb of each 
of these latter to the raifing by a joint at right angles : 
in this way were formed four rectangular vestibules, shut 
in at the sides, and with the front and back faces corres- 
ponding alternately as regards rail and opening. 

These four gates, or toranas, of almost unvarying dimen- 
sions and arrangements, are likewise the work of carpenters 
rather than of masons; and it is even surprising that they 
should have had the boldness to execute them in stone. 
They rest on two square pillars, o™,68 broad, 4 metres in 
height, with an interval of 2'^",i5. These two jambs are 
surmounted by two great capitals, i"S2 5 in height and 
decorated in one case with dwarfs, in another with lions, 
and in two with elephants. These latter in their turn 
support no less than three lintels slightly curved, projecting 


on the two sides, these lateral projections becoming smaller 
and smaller, doubtless in order to accentuate the impres- 
sion of height in the whole (cf. pi. VIII, i). The entire 
construction attains a height of about lo metres, without 
reckoning the mystic symbols at the summit. Caryatides 
of a fairly successful outline connect the outer side of the 
capitals with the first architrave; other figures of men, 
women, horses with their riders, elephants with their 
drivers formerly adorned the spaces of the blocks which 
separate the lintels. It should be remarked at once that 
these statues are almost the only pieces of sculpture 
finished in full relief that ancient India has bequeathed to 
us; most frequently the images even of divinities, such as 
those which here decorate the bases of the uprights, were 
not entirely detached from the stone whence the artists' 
chisel had elicited them. Then again, lintels, coins and 
jambs have all their visible faces covered with bas-reliefs. 
The question is to discover what these sculptures repre- 


Means of Identification. — At first sight the problem seems 
to be susceptible of the most simple solution. In fact one 
sees almost everywhere graffiti, deeply incised in the ancient 
Indian alphabet, which, like ours, reads from left to right; 
it seems then that we have only to come close and decipher 
them . But, in proportion as we advance in this task, our hope 
of finding the kind of information which we are seeking 
diminishes. All that we can learn from each of the circa 375 
inscriptions cut in the railing and in the gates (') is 

(i) These inscriptions have last been studied by G. Buhler in Epi'- 
graphia Indica, vol II, pp. 87 sqq. ; 366 sqq. 


that a certain individual or a certain guild made a gift of 
such and such an upright or cross-bar, in short, of the piece 
on which, precisely in order that no one might be ignorant 
of the fact, they have taken care to have their names inscrib- 
ed. As a type we may take the one displayed right in the 
middle of the facade of the left jamb of the eastern gate ; it 
tells us simply : 

Korarasa Ndgapiyasa Jcchdvadesethisa ddnam thabo : « (This) 
« pillar (is the) gift of the banker of Acchavada, Nagapiya, 
(c a native of Kurara ». 

Certainly these indications are far from being entirely 
devoid of interest. First of all, they tell us that, if not the 
monument itself, at least its enclosure was built by public 
subscription, whh special approprintion of the contribu- 
tions, as in certain modern religious foundations. Moreo- 
ver these votive and somewhat ostentatious epigraphs 
enlighten us indirectly on many points — for example, as 
regards the social condition of the individual subscribers, 
who nearly all belong to the middle class, merchants 
and bankers, the class from which the Buddhist laity were 
most freely recruited; or again, concerning the details of the 
artistic execution, as when one of the jambs of the southern 
gate is given us as an offering in kind, the chef-d'oeuvre, 
and at the same time the ex-voto, of the carvers in ivory 
of the neighbouring town of Vidi^a; or lastly, concerning 
the date of the sculptures, which the incidental mention 
on this same gate of the reigning king Satakani allows us 
to connect with the second, or first, century before 
the Christian era. But, as regards the subject of the scenes 
represented, the inscriptions and their engravers are aggra- 
vatingly silent. Evidently the sculptors of Sanchi, as a 
means ofensuring at all periods the comprehension of their 
work, counted on their artistic talent as illustrators; wherein 


they showed themselves much less far-seeing and less mo- 
dest than their confreres who had just decorated the balus- 
trade of Barhut, and who had| not considered it futile to 
engrave on the stone the titles of their bas-reliefs. 

It is as well to state at once that an analogy with a later 
and well-known motif, a characteristic detail awakening 
the remembrance of a text, a determinate number of objects 
forming a traditional group, all these helps and others 
besides would, no doubt, in the end have opened a way to 
the interpretation of some of the Sanchi panels ; but it is 
doubtful if these isolated discoveries would ever have gone 
beyond the stage of ingenious hypotheses, or have deserved 
to be looked upon as anything but jeux d'esprit. If in 
this matter we are able to arrive at certainties of a scien- 
tific character, we owe it to the worthy image-makers 
of Barhut. It is they who, thanks to the perfectly explicit 
indications which they themselves have transmitted to 
us on the subject of their compositions, have furnished 
us with a key to ancient Buddhist art ('). In the case 
of Sanchi, where we have to explain a monument closely 
connected in spirit, as in space and time, with Barhut, it 
may easily be conceived that these precious and trustwor- 
thy data will necessarily be our first and constant 
resource. While forming a fund of interpretation acquired 
in advance, they will at the same time furnish a firm 
starting point for fresh research; for we may expect that 
one identification will lead to another, and that the panels 
will mutually explain each other, were it only by reason 
of their proximity. On the whole, we must not despair of 
seeing the majority of these pictures in stone come to life 
by degrees under an attentive gaze; and, thanks to their 

(i) See above, Essay II, p. 29. 


expressive mimicry, they will end by making, us under- 
stand the message which it was their mission to transmit to 
posterity . 


^ Decorations, images and symbols. — If we approach in a prac- 
tical manner the task thus defined, it will immediately 
appear to us that we could not have entirely dispensed 
with the information, or the confirmations, furnished by 
the written evidence of Barhut, except so far as 
concerns the purely decorative bas-reliefs. It is a matter 
of course that the natural intelligence is always and every- 
where sufficient to understand the sense and appreciate the 
aesthetic value of motifs designed solely for the pleasure 
of the eyes. Nothing is more simple than to classify these 
ornaments into different categories, according as they 
are borrowed from the fauna, flora, or the architec- 
ture, either local or foreign. Our archaeological knowledge 
will not need to be very extensive in order to enable us 
to recognize the Iranian origin of a certain number of them, 
lions or winged griffins, bell-shaped capitals surmounted 
by two animals set back to back, honey-suckle palmettes, 
merlons, serrated ornamentation, etc. We shall find, on 
the contrary, a smack of the Indian soil in the balustrade 
ornaments, in the horse-shoe arches, in the garlands of 
lotuses, or even in the elephants so ingeniously sketched 
according to nature. But neither these identifications, which 
are within the reach of children, nor those more learned 
distinctions tell us anything whatever concerning the 
scenes any more than concerning the idols to which after 
all these decorations only serve as a framework. 

From the first moment that we find ourselves in the 
presence of our fellow-creatures the problem of iden- 


tification becomes infinitely more complicated. Even as re- 
gards isolated persons we cannot content ourselves, as in the 
case of animals, with a simple designation of species. We 
must at least discern their real nature, whether human or 
divine; next, try to determine their social rank on earth or 
in heaven ; then finally, if possible, assign a proper name 
to each. It is a great deal to ask. Certainly we have very 
little difficulty in recognizing in a frequent feminine 
figure, seated on a lotus and copiously doused by two 
elephants, the prototype of the modern representations of 
Qn, the Hindu Goddess of Fortune ('). On the other hand, 
we should scarce] v have known what to say concerning 
the beautiful ladies who connect the jamb with the first 
lintel, if it were not that we find them again on the Barhut 
pillars. They have retained, here as there, in addition to 
their opulent charms and somewhat scanty costume, their 
eminently plastic pose, and they continue, as is written, 
« to bend their willow-forms Hke a bow » and « to lean, 
holding a mango- bough in full flower, displaying their 
bosoms like golden jars » QBuddhacarita, II, 52 and IV, 
35, trans. Cowell). But there, in addition to what we 
have here, they bear also a little label which teaches us to 
see in them, instead of simple bayaderes, divinities, of an 
inferior order, it is true, belonging to those whom we 
should call « fairies ». At the same time, in the lay persons 

(i) See below, Catalogue, § 4 (?. This resemblance does not at all prove that 
■we have already to do with the goddess ^ri. The frequency of this figure at 
Sanchi, where it recurs as many as 9 times (see above, p. 18, n. i), the 
manner of its juxtaposition to the Bodhi-tree, the Wheel of the Law, and the 
Stupa of the Parinirvdna suggest, on the contrary, that we are dealing 
■with a symbolical representation of the Nativity, when the two Ndgas 
(here elephants; see below, p. 109), simultaneously bathed the mother and 
the unseen child. Accordingly, this scene should have been cited and dis- 
cussed above, p. 20, had we not preferred to neglect for the moment s 
hypothesis still awaiting verification. 


who, upright at the foot of the jambs, reveal to us fortheir 
part the mascuhne fashions of Central India in the centu- 
ries immediately preceding our era (pi. VIII, 2), we learn to 
recognize demi-godsand genii, guardians of the four entran- 
ces to the sanctuary, as also of the four cardinal points (*). 
Elsewhere, as we have said, numerical considerations 
may sometimes point out the way of interpretation. Let 
us take the right (or north) jamb of the eastern gate. Its 
facade is divided into panels, in each of which a god, if we 
may judge by his attributes, is seen seated, like an Indian 
king, in the midst of his court. Each of these compositions 
taken by itself tells us absolutely nothing : but, if we set 
aside for a while the last terrace, we ascertain that there 
are six of these compartments... This number alone is a 
flash of hght; and Prof. A. Griinwedel needed nothing 
further to lead him to conjecture with infinite probability 
that here we see, arranged one above another on this pillar, 
the first six stories of the 27-storied paradise of Bud- 
dhism, — the only ones, moreover, which belong to the 
domain of sensual pleasures and consequently to that of 
our senses. It is with difficulty that we are able to discern 
also, on the balcony of the highest terrace, half-length 
figures of the Gods in the heaven of Brahma, who belong 
to already another sphere ; one step higher, the superior 
divinities, like Dante's souls in paradise who have become 
pure lights, escape by definition the scope of the plastic 
arts. The identification justifies itself, then, admirably, 
and it is confirmed even by the uniformity and banahty of 
the scenes : for we know very well that, if the torments 
of hell are usually very varied, there is, according to the 

(i) See below, Catalogue, § i fc and 9 fl, and ct. Cdnn(Ngham, Barhut. 


representations which have been attempted, nothing more 
monotonous than the happiness of the heavens. However, 
the hypothesis becomes quite convincing only after a com- 
parison with inscribed pictures of the paradise of the Thirty- 
three Gods at Barhut ('). 

One other example is from this point ot view still more 
characteristic. On the posterior frontal of this same gate 
(pi. VII, 2) is figured a row of vacant thrones under trees, 
between human and divine worshippers. They were coun- 
ted. There are seven of them : and thereupon an expert 
student of Buddhism, the Rev. S. Beal, had not been long in 
rediscovering in the legend of the Master seven miraculous 
trees : unfortunately it would be easy to enumerate still 
more of them. The analogy of certain series in Gan- 
dhara or at Ajanta would to-day furnish a much more 
satisfactory explanation by suggesting that it was a 
symbolical manner of representing the seven traditional 
Buddhas of our aeon, the last being ^akya-Muni. But 
you perceive that this conjecture would remain sus- 
pended literally in the air... Well, the inscribed bas-reliefs of 
Barhut have made it a certainty. In fact, they show us in 
succession all these same trees, of easily recognizable 
species, above these same seats of stone, between these 
same worshippers ; but in this case each of them bears as 
on a label the name of the Buddha whose memory it 
evokes ; and thus we can no longer doubt that the intention 
of the old image-makers was indeed to represent the 
seven Enhghtened Ones of the past by the seven trees under 
which they sat in order to attain to enlightenment (^). 

(i) See below, Catalogue, § 6, and cf. Cunningham, Barhut, pi. XVI, i, 
and XVII, i, and Fergusson, Tree and Serpent Worship, pi. XXX, i. 

(2) See below, Catalogue, § 10 b, and cf. Cunningham, ibid., pi. XXIX- 
XXXand Fergusson, ibid., pi. IX and Xa (medial lintel of the north gate). 


You perceive already, and we may resume in a single 
sentence, the immediate consequences of this important 
observation. Following always the same trail, we shall 
learn to recognize after the symbolism of the tree, which 
betokens Buddha's attainment of Sambodhi, that of the 
wheel, which signifies his preaching, and finally that of the 
stnpa or tumulus, which is the emblem of his Parinirvdm. 
A comparison with the stelae on which the old school of 
Amaravati in Southern India was pleased to group the 
representations of the « four great miracles » will finally 
settle our ideas on all these points ('). At the same time 
we shall not only have identified roughly a good half of the 
Sanchi bas-reliefs ; we shall moreover be sufficiently fami- 
liarized with the secrets of the studio to be able to approach 
with some chance of success the interpretation of the 
remainder of the works. 


The Legendary Scenes. — Kindly bethink yourselves that 
in fact the Acquisition of Omniscience, the First Sermon 
and the Final Decease are, with the Nativity or the Voca- 
tion, the four chief episodes of the Buddhist legend. 
Now it is scarcely necessary to say that all the scenes at 
Sanchi are dedicated solely to the illustration of this 
legend. In their chronological order they will be divided 
naturally into three categories, according as their sub- 
ject is borrowed from the previous lives, from the last 
life, or from times subsequent to the definitive death of 
the Blessed One. 

(i) See above, pi. II. 


To begin with the past rebirths, it is sufficiently well 
known that these jdtakas, as the Indians call them, are the 
favourite subjects of the ancient sculptors of Barhut (') : 
and this time also we could not put ourselves to a 
better school to learn to read these riddles in stone. For we 
must constantly bear in mind that all these bas-reliefs are 
what our illustrators call a stories without words » : only, 
insteadof depicting the successive episodes in a series of dis- 
tinct pictures, the oldlndian masters, like those of our Middle 
Ages, did not shrink from placing the incidents in juxta- 
position or repeating the characters within one and the 
same panel. Once we are aware of this procedure, 
it is a mere pastime to explain their works and to 
follow the edifiying thread of the story through the appar- 
ent disorder of the actors and under the accumulation of 
genre details wherewith they like to crowd the subject. 
Let us add that the pastime is all the more attractive 
as, in spite of certain failings in technical skill, we cannot 
but admire the natural gifts of our sculptors ("). 

In the scenes of the last hfe of the Master we shall, of 
course, find employed the same method of composition. But 
there will be added to it another convention, a most unex- 
pected one, and one capable of completely baffling our 
researches, were it not that we have already been made 
aware of it; or rather, to employ a better expression, it is 

(i) See above, Essay II. 

(2) We have not noticed on the eastern gate any specimen oijdtaka ; but, 
in order that it may not be thought that they were excluded from the reper- 
tory of Sinchi, let us point out those of the elephant Saddanta on the pos- 
terior face of the middle lintel of the southern gate (Fergdsson, pi. VIII), 
of the rishi Eka?:ringa, recognizable at once by his one frontal horn, and of 
prince Vi^vantara on the lower lintel of the northern gate (Fergusson, 
pi. Xl-Xa and XXIV, 5), of the Mahakapi and vyama on the southern 
jamb of the western gate (Fergusson, pi. XVIII-XIX and XXXIV). 


not that some element comes into increase the pictorial com- 
plication of the scene; it is, on the contrary, something 
which is wanting in it, and that something is nothing less 
than the j&gure of the principal hero. In all these illustra- 
tions of the biography of Buddha we shall find everything 
that the author desires, except Buddha himself. It is 
already a good number of years since the inscribed bas- 
reliefs of Barhut, by informing us that a certain worshipper, 
on his knees before a vacant throne merely surmounted 
by a parasol or marked by a symbol, is in the act of « ador- 
ing the Blessed One », have placed beyond doubt this 
invariable and surprising abstenance. The Sanchi sculptures, 
which on the whole are better preserved, tell us more on this 
point than do the ruins of Barhut, From these latter we 
already knew that the ancient school of Central India had 
not at its disposal a type of the perfect Buddha : the facade 
of the middle hntel of our eastern gate, which represents the 
« Great Departure of the Bodhisattva » (pi. X, i), proves 
to us, in its turn, that it refrained no less rigorously from 
figuring the Predestined even before the Sambudhi, when it 
would have been so simple and so easy to lend him 
the usual features of Vigvantara or some other « crown 
prince ». We have here a new fact and one of prime im- 
portance in the limitedsphere of Buddhist archaeology. To 
the list of conventional representations of the Buddha by 
a throne of stone, the imprint of two feet, awheel or some 
other emblem, we must now add the no less strange 
representation of the Bodhisattva by a horse without a rider 
under an honorific parasol ('). 

(i) See below, Catalogue, § n a; cf. likewise, Cunningham, Barhut, 
pi. XX, I, and Fergusson, Tree and Serpent Worship, Amaravati, pi. XCVI, 
3, etc. These are precisely the facts of which we have sought in our first 
essay to explain the origin and significance. 


It is, however, episodes borrowed from the second part 
of the last existence of the Master that form|the bulk of 
the legendary scenes of Sanchi. The native artists did not, 
in fact, resign themselves to reproducing solely and always 
the same great miracles, symbolized by the tree, the wheel 
or the stupa : they have fulfilled their undertaking to illus- 
trate in detail the career of Buddha without figuring him- As 
if this prime difficulty were not enough, they imposed upon 
themselves a further one, which has not up to now been 
sufficiently emphasized ; we mean the law to which they 
submitted of not bringing on to the scene any among the 
disciples but laymen or any among the monks but here- 
tics prior to their conversion. Thus they deliberately pro- 
posed to make us spectators of the Master's work, which 
consists essentially in the foundation of a monastic order, 
not only without our seeing the founder, but even without 
our catching a glimpse of a single Buddhist monk. When we 
observe the ingenuity which they have displayed in the 
accomplishment of this unpromising programme, we can- 
not too much regret the narrow limits within which they 
have restricted themselves. The eastern gate, to speak only 
of this one, does not Umit itself to showing us typical speci- 
mens of this art, at once so natural and so distorted. The pan- 
els of the southern jamb supply us in addition with a charac- 
teristic example of the manner in which, as we have indica- 
ted, they explain by their propinquity each another. On 
the interior face (pi. IX, i) Beal had already recognized, 
and verified more or less satisfactorily in detail, three distinct 
phases of the conversion of the thousand Brahmanic ancho- 
rites, disciples of the three brothers Ka^yapa. Prof. Griinwe- 
del has included in the same series of wonders the picture of 
the inundation, which occupies the centre of the front face. 
Henceforth we believe it impossible not to conclude this 


series, in accordance with a fixed tradition, by recognizing 
in the king just below, who is leaving his capital to pay a 
visit to the Blessed One, Bimbisara. the famous sovereign of 
the neighbouring town ofRaiagriha(Rajgir) and thefahhful 
friend of the Master. There remains now at the top of this 
same face a representation of the Sambodhi : if we reflect 
that the site of this miracle, namely Bodh-Gaya, is likewise 
very near to Uruvilva (Urel), where all the episodes of 
the conversion of the Kacyapas take place, we shall be at 
last successful in penetrating the really very simple plan of 
the artist : whether on his own initiative, or in conse- 
quence of the express command of the banker Nagapiya, his 
intention was evidently to group on the same jamb legen- 
dary events localized in the same district of the country of 
Magadha ('). 

However well the Indian school proper may have been 
served in its ungrateful entreprise by the monotonous 
character of this perpetual course of visits and preaching, 
of conversions and offerings, which forms the career of 
Buddha, it is self-evident that its system of composition 
accommodated itself infinitely better to subjects subsequent 
to the Parinirvdna, the only ones in which the absence of 
the Master's figure became quite plausible. If its regular 
development had not been very soon interrupted by the 
adoption of the Indo-Greek type of Buddha, which came 
from the north-west of India, it would probably have been 
led by the natural course of things to assign a growing 
importance to this sort of historical pictures, side by 
side with the pictures of piety. Therefore, we do not hesi- 

(i) See below, Catalogue, § 8 et 9; also the interior face of the nor- 
thern pillar of the same gate is consecrated to Kapilavastu (Cat. § 7), 
the front face of the eastern pillar of the northern gate to the Jetavana of 
Qrivasti (Fergusson, pi. Xand XI), etc. 



tate to recognize at once a few attempts of this kind at 
Sanchi, notably among the bas-reliefs which are freely dis- 
played over the whole width of the lintels. It is scarcely 
necessary to state that these scenes are not less legendary in 
fact, or less edifying in intention, than the others. We shall 
recall, first of all, on the southern gate that vivid represen- 
tation of the famous war of the relics, which by an ironical 
return of the things of this world came near to being preci- 
pitated by the death of the Apostle of Benevolence. We 
know that fortunately it was averted ('): the « Seven before 
Ku^inagara » at last obtained from the inhabitants of the 
town a portion of the ashes of the Blessed One; and each of 
these eight co-sharers, keeping his portion or carrying it in 
triumph to his native land, built a stupa in its honour. It 
was these eight original deposits — or rather seven of 
them — that towards the middle of the third century B. C. 
the famous Acoka, piously sacrilegious, violated, with 
the sole aim of distributing their contents among the innum- 
erable Buddhist sanctuaries which were then beginning to 
be scattered all over India. As to the eighth, that of Rama- 
grama, it seems to have been already lost in the jungle ; 
and a well-known tradition (although not known to be 
so ancient) will have it that in regard thereto the royal 
pilgrim was confronted by the courteous, but definite refusal 
of the Nagas, who were its guardians. Now such, surely, is 
the spectacle offered to us, a century after the event, by the 

(i) See Fergusson, pi. VII et XXXVIII (and comp. western gate, iMd.. 
pi. XVIII et XXXVIII, 2) : this scene was originally carved on the face of 
the lower lintel, and such is indeed the position assigned to it by the drawino- 
of Cole, reproduced by Frrgusson ; but in the restoration this lintel a nd the 
higher one were replaced back to front. — It was the same with the three 
lintels of the western gate : on the other hand Cole had in his drawing 
inverted the order of the first and the third. 


central lintel of this very southern gate ('). A hundred 
years are amply sufficient, especially in India, to create a 
complete cycle of legends. Reflect, on the other hand, that at 
a few paces from the future site of the gate A?oka had 
already caused his famous « edicts » to be engraved upon a 
column. According to all probability the erection of this 
column was contemporary with the building of the stupa, 
which may very well be one of the « 84.000 » reli- 
gious foundations ascribed to the devout emperor. Finally, 
we have reasons for thinking that the latter had remain- 
ed a kind of local hero in the district : at least it is in 
the immediate neighbourhood of Sanchi that the Mahd- 
vamsa places the romance of his youth with the beautiful 
daughter of a rich citizen of Besnagar. All this may help 
us to understand that two other pseudo-historic scenes 
on our eastern gate may in the same way be borrowed 
from his cycle. The one on the reverse side of the lower 
lintel (pi. VII, 2) must have some connection with the 
Ramagrama stupa, if it is not simply another version of 
the legend which we have just cited. As for the other on 
the front of the same block, we cannot help believing that 
the solemn procession to the Bodhi tree (pi. X, 2) is the 
figured echo, if it is not the direct illustration, of a passage 
in the Agokavaddna Q^. 

If at the point at which we have now arrived we cast a 
general glance over the gate which is the particular object of 

(i) F:6rgusson, pi. VII; for the tradition compare Divyavadana, p. 380; 
Fa-hian, ch. xxin, and Hiuan-tsang, xi, 3'' Kingdom. 

(2) See below, Catalogue, % 12 a and h, and cf. Divyavadana, p. 397 
and sqq. 


our studies, we shall be as surprised as any one to observe 
that we are beginning to understand its mute language. 
There is now scarcely apart of it whose meaning or inten- 
tion escapes us, from the genii which mount guard at the 
foot to the Buddhist symbols which decorate the summit. 
We may, therefore, consider that we have accomplished 
the bulk of our task, and I shall confine myself in conclu- 
sion to endeavouring to unite your impressions : this will 
be the best way of summing up the various kinds of interest 
which these sculptures may present. 

The keenest is to be found, perhaps — at least for those 
among us who have a taste for antiquity — in the very 
expressive and complete picture that they give us of the 
ancient civilization of India. Architecture both urban and 
rural, furniture, tools, weapons, instruments of music, 
standards, chariots, harness for horses and for elephants, 
costumes and ornaments for men and women etc., all these 
concrete and precise details merely await to be detached by 
a draughtsman, in order to serve as authentic illustrations 
to a future Dictionary of Indian antiquities. And side by 
side with this information, which is purely material, but in 
itself so precious, how much more may we gather concer- 
ning even the life of the courts, towns and hermitages, if 
we glance successively at these anchorites, so busy around 
their sacrificial fires (cf. further on, page 98) ; these women 
who attend to their domestic occupations (page 95) ; these 
kings seated in their palaces or proceeding with great pomp 
through the streets of their capitals, before the curious 
eyes of their subjects (pp. 91 and 93), etc. What is to be 
said then of the no less important information which these 
sculptures furnish concerning the external forms of worship 
and even of the beliefs, the features worn in popular imagi- 
nation by genii and fairies, as also concerning the manner 


in which the reHgious conscience of the time conceived the 
written tradition of Buddhism! 

But these are questions reserved for speciahsts, and, 
doubtless, many of you are more concerned for the aesthe- 
tic value, than for the documentary interest, of these old 
monuments. From this point of view you cannot have 
failed to appreciate the perfect naturalness of the artists who 
worked at them, and I do not hesitate to praise above all 
the justness of their observation — so remarkable espec- 
ially in their animals and trees — and the freedom of their 
execution, in spite of a certain clumsiness and a very par- 
donable ignorance oiour perspective. You divine also what 
a delicate problem is raised as to the determination of the 
exact place of their works in the general history of art. I do 
not think that anyone can reasonably contest the statement 
that this school ofBarhut and of Sanchi is a direct expres- 
sion of Indian genius, with all the spontaneousness and 
conventionality to be found in either. And in making this 
statement I am not thinking only of fundamentals, of the 
thoroughly indigenous character of the subjects which the 
art proposed to treat : even as regards its specially technical 
proceedings, that extremely deeply incised rehef, that cons- 
tant search tor swarming effects, that systematic over- 
crowding of the whole available space in the panel by acces- 
sory details, it is in the hereditary habits of the wood and 
ivory carvers of ancient India, not forgetting its gold- 
smiths, that I should seek their origin. But, if ancient 
Buddhist art is thus attached by all its roots to its native 
soil, we should have to be wilfully blind not to see the 
foreign shoots which have already ingrafted themselves on 
this wild stock. A quantity of decorative motives have 
appeared to us so directly borrowed from Persia that their 
importation can scarcely be explained otherwise than by 


an immigration of Iranian artisans. But this is not all : 
here and there, in bold foreshortenings, in the skilful plac- 
ing of three-quarter length figures, in the harmonious 
balancing of groups — in a word, in the detail of the work- 
ing process, as also in the general arrangement of the com- 
position — we detect growing traces of an influence more 
subtle and more difficult to disentangle, but incomparably- 
more artistic, which in fact had by the vicissitudes of poli- 
tical history been brought much nearer, the influence of 
Hellenistic models. Moreover, we now know from a reliable 
source that this influence had already penetrated as far 
as there ; and the native artists of Vidiga could see quite 
close to their town the column which had been raised on 
behalf of a local rajah in the reign of the Indo-Greek 
king Antialkidas (about 175 B. C.) by the envoy Helio- 
doros, son of Dion, a native of Taxila ('). 

But, if these bas-rehefs have deserved to hold your atten- 
tion for an instant, it is not solely for what they teach us 
or inspire us with a desire to know of the civilization and 
art of India : it is also and especially for the curious com- 
parisons with our own religious art to which they lend 
themselves. You have surely observed among them an 
employment of symbols, in every way analogous to that 
exhibited by the first Christian artists of the Catacombs at a 
time when they also had not at their disposal an universally 
accepted image of the Saviour. The parallelism of the two 
developments might be pursued still further : and later on, 
when in both cases the type of the Master had been defini- 
tely fixed, it would be no less easy to find in Buddhist tra- 
dition written evidence of the tendency, so well known to 

(i) The quite recent discovery ot this inscribed pillar is due to Mr. J. 
H. Marshall, J. R. A. S. 1909, p. 1053. 


US, to authenticcite the resemblance, as if it were a question 
of a portrait made from a living model. Another feature 
which you must also have noticed in passing is the narra- 
tive character of the bas-reliefs, forthwith employed to 
relate edifying stories; and it will not have escaped you 
either that we find again on the altar screens of the Middle 
Ages, and even on certain panels of the first Renaissance 
— for example on those with which Ghiberti decorated the 
doors of the Baptistery at Florence — the same procedures 
of juxtaposition ot episodes and repetition of persons which 
were already in use at Bjirhut and at Sanchi. Thus these old 
monuments, in exchange for the trouble which we have 
taken to become familiar with them, offer us ample mate- 
rial for comparisons of an interest more general and more 
closely connected with us than we could have expected. It is 
of this that I wished in conclusion to remind you as a com- 
pensation for the perhaps rather too technical subject 
which circumstances, as told in our preamble, have im- 
posed upon us. 



[We have not deemed it necessary to encumber this 
short notice with a detailed account of the more or less suc- 
cessful attempts which have already been made whh a view 
to the interpretation of the sculptures of Sanchi. The princi- 
pal publication treating of them, after the first essay of 
Cunningham, The Bhilsa Topes (London, 1854), is that of 
Fergusson, Tree and Serpent- Worship (2^ ed., London, 1873 , 
reproducing the identifications proposed by Beal, Journ. 
of the Roy. As. series. V, 1871, pp. 164 and sqq.) : 


but the photographs, ahhough annotated by numerous 
drawings, are almost unusable, because their scale has 
been too much reduced, and the text, ruined by strange 
theories, has lost nearly all value. The same remarks apply 
to the photographs of Sir Lepel Griffin, Famous Monuments 
of Central India, and of H. Cole, Preservation of National 
Monuments, India : Great Buddhist Tope atSdnchi (1885), and 
to the text of F- C Maisey, Sdnchi and its remains (Lon- 
don, 1892). Fortunately the moulding of the eastern gate, 
given to the « Museum fiir Volkerkunde » in Berlin, 
attracted in a very special manner the attention of Profes- 
sor Griinwedel in Chapter V of his celebrated Handhuch 
{Euddhistische Kunst inlndien, 2^ ed., Berlin, 1900; revised 
and enlarged by Dr. J. Burgess, Buddhist Art in India, Lon- 
don, 1902, particularly pp. 72-74). We are in perfect 
agreement with the eminent archaeologists of Edinburgh 
and Berlin as regards the method to be followed : at the 
same time, we must warn the reader once for all that on 
several points we have arrived at conclusions somewhat 
different from theirs. If this treatise marks any progress 
whatever in the interpretation of the Sanchi bas-reliefs, it 
is entirely due to the excellent direct photographs which 
Mr. J. H. Marshall has put at our disposal.] 

The sculptures which cover from top to bottom the eas- 
tern gate of the stiipa of Sanchi may be divided into two 
great categories, the decorative elements and the Buddhist 
scenes. In reality the line of demarcation between these 
two orders of subjects is at times very difficult to trace. 
Many of the so-called ornaments have a traditional symbo- 
lical value, and, on the other hand, a great number of the 
edifying representations tend to pure decoration. The 
distinction is justified, however, in practice. We shall 
avoid many useless repetitions, if we decide to classify 


in the first category all those motifs whose character, 
being before all ornamental, is sufficiently emphasized by 
the fact that they are symmetrically repeated on the beams 
or the uprights of the stone scaffolding which constitutes 
the torana (cf. above, pp. 65-6). 


§ I. Decoration of the jambs. — Thus itisthatthe two jambs 
of the gate, that of the north and that of the south, — or 
more simply, of the right and left as you enter, — bear on 
two of their faces motifs which are evidently complemen- 

a) Their o«/er face is simply decorated with those pink 
lotus flowers {padma or nelumbum speciosuni), which, as we 
know, play a considerable part in Indian ornamentation 
and symbolism. To the right a series of full-blown roses 
is enclosed within two waved garlands of these same flow- 
ers, graced with buds and leaves. To the left the principal 
subject consists of a similar garland, whose decoration 
changes likewise between each undulation of the chief 
branch : in addition Indian swans (hanisa') and a tortoise 
are intermingled whh the flowers. 

b) In the two male figures placed opposite each other at 
the foot of the inner face oi the two jambs we must, from 
analogy with Barhut, recognize the protecting spirits of 
the eastern region, that is, the Gandharvas or celestial 
musicians, the chief of whom is Dhritarashtra (cf. above, 
p. 71). Nevertheless, they are presented simply under the 
appearance of great Indian lords, wearing turbans and 
adorned with heavy jewels, earrings, necklaces and bracelets 
of precious stones. The ends of their long loin-cloths hang 
in close little pleats in front; as for the second part of their 
costume, the scarf, whose usual function is to drape the 


body, they wear it negligently tied round their loins. 
The one holds up the ends of it with his left hand, 
whilst the other has placed his awkwardly on his hip (see 
pi. VIII, 2). The latter holds in his right hand a Bignonia 
flower, while the former has a lotus. Both are looking in 
the direction of the sanctuary, and are leaning against a 
background formed of a Bignonia in blossom and a mango- 
tree bearing fruit. 

§ 2. Capitals. — The great capitals which surmount the 
two jambs of the eastern gate are decorated with tame ele- 
phants (pi. VIII, i). Four of these animals are placed very 
ingeniously about each pillar in such a way that their heads 
form a round embossement to the four edges of the corners. 
Their harness consists of a rich head-stall (from which 
hang in front of the ears two pendants of pearls, and 
behind two bells) and a tasselled saddle-cloth, kept 
in its place by cords which pass under their bodies and 
form knots on their backs. The person of distinction was 
seated astride in the most comfortable place on their 
necks : holding in his hand the special crook (ahku^a^, he 
was his own driver : and, in fact, we know that in ancient 
India the art of driving elephants formed an integral 
part of a complete education. Right on the elephant's 
hind quarters crouches a standard-bearer, who doubtless, 
in the case of a rapid motion, held on to the knot of 
the belly-band. As for the elephants themselves with 
their trunks and one of their fore-feet slightly bent back, 
they are, as usual, admirably rendered. Formal leaves and 
flowers decorate the upper part of the capitals. An inscrip- 
tion on the inner face of that to the left invokes imprecations 
on whosoever shall remove a single stone of the gate or 
the railing. As regards the two caryatids, see below, § 5 fl. 


§ 3 . Decoration of the lintels. — The three lintels likewise 
repeat on both their faces several symmetrical forms of 

rt) On the fagade (pi. VIII, i) we shall note first three 
kmds of false capitals, of a character quite Iranian, which, 
contmuing the two uprights, break through each lintel. 
On the two lower ones the decorative designs consist 
of winged lions, two of which are seated back to back, 
while a third protrudes its head and two front-paws 
through the space between them. On the topmost one 
they consist of two great fully harnessed draught oxen, 
likewise seated back to back, but furthermore ridden by 
two men. 

a) On the reverse side (pi. VII, 2) the corresponding sub- 
jects are in the same order : two pairs of goats, with or 
without horns; two pairs of two-humped camels, likewise 
seated; two pairs of horned lions, standing and passant. All 
these animals serve as steeds for riders of both sexes and of 
different types, nativeand foreign. One of those at the sum- 
mit has short hair, tied with a fillet, and carries in his left 
hand a piece of a vine-stock. 

^) The extremities of the lintels are uniformly decora- 
ted both on the observe and on the reverse by a kind of long 
tendril, rolled seven times round itself and attached to 
the whole by an ornament of honeysuckle : this makes a 
total of twelve snails, and produces a somewhat unfortunate 
effect. If it were claimed that this is an attempt to imitate 
the Ionic volute, it would have to be acknowledged that it 
is inverted and executed in a most rudimentary fashion. 
c) The whole surface of the lintels unoccupied by these 
decorations is, as a general rule, consecrated to legendary 
scenes. There is, it seems, no exception to be made, except 
upon the facade and only on the projecting portions of the 


lower and middle lintels. The former are garnished with 
two pairs of peacocks — a triumph of graceful design, 
which is to be found also on the northern gate — and the 
latter by wild elephants. 

§ 4. The supports. — We agree to designate by this term 
the four cubical blocks placed in the prolongations of the 
uprights and the six uprights set in between the three lin- 
tels to separate them from one another. 

a) On the fagade (pJ. VIII, i) the lower support to the 
right and the upper one to the left both represent a feminine 
figure seated, with one leg hanging down, upon a lotus 
issuing from a lottery vase (bhadra-ghatd) : she holds in 
her hand this same flower, and on two other lotuses at 
either side of her two standing elephants douse her, or are 
in the attitude of dousing her, with two pitchers held at the 
ends of their trunks. We know that this motif is preserved 
even to our days in the representations of the Indian For- 
tune : but we have reasons for believing that this was not 
the original denotation ('). The subjects of the two other 
corresponding panels belong, in any case, to the category 
of Buddhist miracles. The one on the left represents the 
(c preaching of Buddha » by means of the Wheel of the Law 
placed on a throne under a parasol among the usual wor- 
shippers, human and divine. The one on the right shows 
us — as is proved by the characteristically twisted floweret 
of his tree, — the Messiah of Buddhism, Maitreya, symbo- 
lised by this campaka or ndga-pushpa {Michelia champaka or 
Mesua Roxhurghii). 

a') On the reverse side of the gate (pi. VII, 2) the lower sup- 
ports are decorated only with lotuses issuing from a bha- 

(i) See above, p. 70, n. i. 


dra-gbata; but the upper ones return to the legendary scenes 
with two stupas emblematic of the Parinirvdm of the 
Master, and quite similar to those on the front, of which, 
as we shall see below (§ lo a), they complete the number. 
h) One may connect with these the symbols on the 
front of the six uprights, symbols usually enclosed between 
a raihng and merlons : namely, formal Bodhi-trees and 
columns surmounted by the Wheel of the Law or by a 
lion simply. 

b'} Behind they are all covered with the same ornamenta- 
tion, in which the lotus is united with the honeysuckle. 

SS-The detached figures. — To exhaust the list of symmet- 
rical subjects, nothmg further remains for us than to 
enumerate the detached figures in full relief (cf. above, 
page 66, and pi. VIII, i). 

a) The most interesting are the fees (^yakshini, cf. above, 
p. 70), who, with the curve of the mango-tree from which 
they hang by the two arms, form so ingeniously deco- 
rative a bracket. Only the figure on the right is preserved. 
Like the men, she wears a long dhoti; only it is made of 
a more transparent material. Her hair, curiously erected 
in the form of a brush on the top of the head, is spread 
over the back (instead of being gathered in a plait, as is the 
case, for instance, with the female dancers of § 6 a). In 
addition to earrings, necklace and bracelets for the wrists, 
she wears ankle-rings, which come nearly up to her knees, 
and the characteristic feature of an Indian woman's toilet, 
the rich belt of jewelry which covers the loins. In confor- 
mity with the custom of the ancient school, the sex is 

b) The few smaller figures to be found on this gate — 
which we may complete in our thoughts by analogy 


with the northern gate — comprise also another fairy in a 
different pose, three elephants, in each case mounted by two 
persons, and a miserable vestige of a lion. 

c) As for the symbols at the summit, they were three in 
number. At the top of each upright two, of which one is 
still in its place, represented the top of a flag-staff. In the 
middle — on a pedestal probably formed of four lions, 
flanked by two worshippers bearing fly-flappers — stood 
finally the ancient solar symbol of the wheel, placed at the 
service of the Good Law. 

The Legendary Scenes. 

After this rapid sketch of the decorative elements we 
enter upon a necessarily much more detailed examination 
of the religious scenes. For it is self-evident that it is emin- 
ently these that need explanation. 

We will begin with those which are figured on the two 
faces, namely the front and the interior ones, which hold 
the place of honour in the jambs. We have already seen 
that their exterior faces bear only one decorative motif 
(§ I a). As regards their rear faces, they left no space 
above the balustrade, except for two little bas-reliefs, 
analogous to those which we have already noticed on 
the supports (cf. ^ 4 a and fl') : taken all together, 
they represent in the same stereotyped manner, by the 
pretended adoration of the tree, the wheel and the stupa, 
the three great traditional miracles of the Illumination, 
the Preaching, and the Death of Buddha. 

§ 6. Front face of the right jamb. — This facade is decorated 
with four superposed buildings : the lower one has only 
one story; the middle ones have two, both covered with a 
rounded roof, in which are open bays in the shape of a 


horse-shoe; the top one has one story, surmounted by an 
uncovered terrace, which is surrounded on three sides by 
a group of buildings. It is difficult in the present state of 
the stone to judge of the distribution of the persons on the 
lower panel; but the five following ones, divided likewise 
into three compartments by columns with or without 
Persepohtan capitals, are all composed in the same manner. 
The centre is occupied by a divine personage, as is proved 
by the thunderbolt which he holds in his right hand and 
the vase of ambrosia in his left. God though he be, he is 
for the rest conceived in the image of an Indian king. Behind 
him stand the bearers of his parasol and fly-flapper, insignia 
of his royalty; on his right, in the same surroundings, but 
on a slightly lower seat, is his viceroy (upardjd). At his 
left are seen the musicians and dancers of his court. It is 
well known that this concert-ballet is according to Indian 
ideas the indispensable accompaniment of a happy mun- 
dane life. Indications of trees form the background. On 
the upper terrace, as on a balcony, lean two other gods, 
hkewise fanned by women. 

We have enumerated above (p. /[) the reasons which 
miHtate in favour of the identification of this series of sto- 
ries with those of the Buddhist paradise. They would there- 
fore serve respectively as dwelHng-places,(i)for athe Four 
Great Kings », guardians of the four cardinal points (the 
necessity of housing all four of them would explain the 
absence of bayaderes in the compartment to the right of the 
lower panel, at the same time that their subordinate cha- 
racter would justify the line of demarcation traced by the 
roof of the palace between them and the following ones); 
— (2) for the Thirty-three Gods over whom Indra reigns, 
and (3) for those ruled by Yama; — (4) for the Satisfied 
Gods (Tushitd), among whom the Bodhisattva resided before 


his last re-descent upon earth; (5) for the Gods who dispose 
of their own creations; — (6) and finally, for those who 
even dispose of the creations of others, and whose king 
Mara, God of Desire and Death, extends his empire over 
the five lower heavens. As for the two persons on the 
terrace, they would represent the last divinities still visible 
to our human eyes, those of Brahma's world. 

§ 7. Inner face of the right jamb. — This face, according to 
Fergusson, presents an exceptional interest, « being the 
only subject at Sanchi that we can, with certainty, attri- 
bute to Buddhism, as it is known to us ». To-day it is better 
known; but the representation, on the upper extremity of 
the middle bas-relief, of the « dream ot Maya », — other- 
wise, the « conception of the Bodhisattva », who descends 
into his mother's bosom in the form of a little elephant — 
remains certainly in this case the pivot of all identification. 
We know that this scene, so strange to our eyes, in which 
it is a pachyderm which plays the part of the dove in our 
« Annunciations », is itself certainly identified by the Bar- 
hut inscription : « The Descent of the Blessed One ». 
Consequently, we might be tempted to see in the upper 
bas-rehef a picture of the Bodhisattva in the heaven of 
the Tushita gods at the moment when he prepares to be 
born again in the royal family of Kapilavastu. But the 
sculptor prevents us from going astray in that direction by 
the care which he has taken to represent before and behind 
the empty throne obviously the same king and the same 
tree which we find again at the bottom of the lower panel. 
He could not more clearly indicate that he is referring us to 
the latter to find the solution of the enigma. 

a) If we turn then to that (pi. IX, 2), we shall find, first of 
all, in the centre of the composition this same king, about 


to set out with great pomp from one of the gates of his good 
town of Kapilavastu. He is in his chariot, accompanied by 
the three usual servants, the driver, holding the reins and 
the whip, the parasol and fly-flapper bearers. As is cus- 
tomary, the horses, whose head-adornment is very high, 
have their long tails carefully tied up to the harness, 
doubtless in order that they may not inconvenience the 
occupants of the chariot. At their left the archers of the 
guard stand out along the ramparts of the city, and in 
front march the herald and the seven musicians of the royal 
orchestra, blowing oblique flutes and shells or beating 
drums. Behind we perceive, emerging from the streets 
of the town, a brilliant suite mounted on horses and ele- 
phants. Through the balconies of the verandas spectators, 
mostly women, protrude their heads, curious to see the 
procession of the feudal cortege of king ^uddhodana and 
his peers, the noble lords of the race of ^akya. 

Where are they going? Not far, it seems, into a park 
near the town, where all have dismounted; and the first 
idea is that they are going to the famous park of Lumbini, 
theatre of the « Nativity » , which may be presaged by the 
scene (at the top of the panel) of the « Conception ». But 
there is nothing to corroborate this hypothesis. The king 
and the ^akyas appear indeed all occupied in contemplating 
with clasped hands some miraculous event: but their eyes 
are raised into the air, and the object towards which they are 
turned is a small rectangular slab, stretched exactly above 
their heads. It cannot take us long to recognize in this slab 
the a promenade of precious stone » (Skt. ratna-cahkramd) 
which Buddha created by magic « in the air », on the occa- 
sion of his first return to his native town of Kapilavastu ('). 

(i) Mahdvastu, III, p. 113; Commentary on the Dhammapada, ed. 
Fausb0ll, p. 334; Mahdvama, XXX, st. 81, etc. 



The legend is well known : on the occasion of this meeting 
between the father, who had remained a king, and the son, 
who had become Buddha, a most dehcate question of 
etiquette had arisen : which of the two should salute the 
other first? The Blessed One escaped the difficulty by the 
miracle which the sculptor has endeavoured to represent as 
well as he could with his limited means and without 
representation of Buddha himself. 

b) Apparently he was still somewhat distrustful of the 
intelligence of his spectators; for, in order to give more pre- 
cision, he has been careful to put in the first row at the left a 
nyagrodha tree surrounded by a balustrade. This Ficus indica 
(clearly distinguished from the agvattha or Ficus religiosa, as 
it is represented, for instance, on the face of the left jamb) 
is evidently intended to symbolise by itself the nyagrodha- 
ardma at the gates of Kapilavastu, which on the same occa- 
sion king Quddhodana assigned to his son for a resi- 
dence. Henceforth the meaning of the upper bas-relief 
becomes, reciprocally, clear enough. It represents in the 
same eUiptical manner the Buddha seated upon a throne, 
under this same nyagrodha, in the before-mentioned hermi- 
tage; and the said king, his father — always to be recogni- 
zed by the spindle-shaped object kept in its place by a 
buckle of gems on the top of his turban — « renders 
homage to him for the third time », whilst the ^akyas, 
whose pride has been broken by the miracle, imitate his 
example. As always, the tree is adorned with garlands and 
surmounted by a parasol of honour, whilst in the heavens 
two divinities, mounted on griffons, and two others, half 
man and half bird, bring still more garlands or cause flowers 
to rain down. 

But what now is the point of the motif of the « Con- 
ception », thus intercalated between two episodes which 


took place more than forty years after ? The answer is 
simple ; it is there solely to say : « the action takes place at 
Kapilavastu »; and it is just this which explains why, in 
spite of its traditional importance, it is treated in so secon- 
dary a manner. What else could our sculptor do, unless 
he attached a label, as at Barhut ? He has taken care to 
supplement by the addition of the nyagrodha the somewhat 
summary indication of the ratna-cahkrama. For the rest, that 
is for the royal procession, he has given free play to his 
spirit of observation and his taste for the picturesque, 
trusting in the means which otherwise he has put at our 
disposal for localizing the event and identifying the prota- 
gonists : and, if on this point we have, as we believe, arrived 
at a definite interpretation, it is solely owing to the docility 
with which we have followed his indications. 

For the person standing at the foot of the jamb and the 
one opposite to him we must refer to § i ^ above. 

§ 8. Inner face of the left jamb. — For the general sense of 
the bas-reliefs of this jamb and the link which connects 
them we must refer to what was said above on pages 76-7. 

a) We will begin this time with the upper panel of the 
inner face. Apparently it represents the rural country town 
of Uruvilva, whose immediate approaches had been a few 
months previously the scene of the Sambodhi, and later — 
after Buddha's first journey to Benares — of the conversion 
of the Kagyapas. Above, at the left, women are doing their 
household work on the thresholds of their huts; one is husk- 
ing rice in a wooden mortar with a huge pestle ; another 
winnows it with a fan in the form of a shovel ; two neigh- 
bours are one of them rolling out pastry-cakes and the other 
grinding curry-powder. The attention of the latter seems 
to be distracted by the (perhaps amorous) conversation of 


the man seated beside her. Further down to the right two 
more women with round pitchers upon their hips are 
going in the direction of the river Nairanjana (now the 
Lilanj), where a third is already stooping to fill her ghati. 
Some men are coming and going, the bamboo-pole on their 
shoulders laden or empty. It is the village hfe of two thou- 
sand years ago : it is also the village life of to-day, and there 
is not one of the utensils represented there that we have 
not somewhere seen in use. Troops of oxen, buffalos, goats, 
sheep add life to the picture. In what does its edification 
consist? Simply in this, that the invisible Buddha is felt 
to be seated under a parasol and on a throne, behind 
which two devotees are standing. Before the gate of the 
village a third person is likewise to be seen, with his hands 
clasped ; and the attitude of this villager is the only connec- 
ting Unk between the genre scenes, so complacently treat- 
ed, and the religious subject, which is decidedly a little 
sacrificed. As for the two worshippers, we beUeve, after care- 
fully weighing everything, that we must recognize in them 
the gods Indra and Brahma, paying a visit to the Bles- 
sed One in his residence, which was near to, but distinct 
from, that of the oldest of the Kagyapas, the Ka^yapa 
of Uruvilva. This interpretation not only has the advan- 
tage of connecting the subject with the series of won- 
ders which in the end determined the conversion of the 
Brahmanical ascetics : it also provides a place moreover for 
the third and fourth of those prdtihdryas, besides containing 
an implicit allusion to the second, in the order in which the 
Mahdvagga (i, 16-18) counts them. If it is objected that 
these miracles are given in the text as taking place during 
the night, we shall reply that our sculptors have systematic- 
ally ignored this detail, for the very good reason that it was 
not within their competence (cf. below, §11 a). 


b) However the case may be, the panel immediately 
below represents patently the miracle of the « victory over 
the wicked serpent », the first in the version of the Mahd- 
vagga, the last in that of the Mahdvastu. Buddha has been 
allowed by the oldest of the Ka^yapas to pass the night, at 
his own risk and peril, in a fire-temple, in spite of the 
redoubtable ndga which inhabits it (pi. IX, i). The latter 
at once attacks him, and the two struggle together for a 
long time, smoke against smoke, flame against flame, 
until the final defeat of the dragon. This is why we here 
see flames escaping by the horse-shoe bays in the rounded 
roof of the temple, « as if it were a prey to fire » . Through the 
pillars supporting the roof, between the fire altar (or rather 
vessel of fire) and the five-headed hood of the serpent you 
see the throne of the invisible Buddha. On either side Brah- 
manic anchorites, characterised by their high conical-sha- 
ped head-dresses and their bark-garments, are contemplating 
with surprise or respect the victory of the Blessed One, 
whilst below, to the left, three young novices are hastening 
to go and fill pitchers at the Nairaajana. Their intention, if 
we are to believe the analogy of Gandhara (cf . Art greco- 
bouddhique du Gandhdra, fig. 224, 225 b, etc.), is to use 
them in extinguishing the fire. On the right an ascetic 
has just made his report to the old Ka^yapa, seated on a rol- 
led-up mat (brisM) on the threshold of his round hut, with 
its roof of leaves (parmgdW); a band is passed round his 
knees and loins, and his head is leaning upon an esparto 
cushion. In front is a row of trees along the bank of the 
river. The instruments of the Vedic sacrifice, an elephant, 
antelopes, two buffalos, which lift their heads with an air 
of alarm, trees swarming with monkeys, complete or close 
the picture of the hermitage. On the whole, the miracle 
is related as minutely as was possible to the sculptor. The 


whole question is to find out whether he has not sought, in 
accordance with his habit, to combine two subjects. At the 
middle bottom, in the river — indicated as usual by waved 
lines, lotuses and aquatic birds — an adult anchorite, who 
is about to bathe, seems to be watching a fire-cauldron, 
placed in unstable equilibrium on the edge of the water. 
If we remember that one of the wonders accomplished by- 
Buddha consisted precisely in creating fires, in order to 
allow the Brahmans to warm themselves on leaving the 
bath, we cannot help asking ourselves whether we have not 
here at least one allusion to this hnher prdtihdrya (cf. Mahd- 
vagga, I, 20, 15). 

c) In any case, two, or even three, miracles are grouped 
on the next small panel. Here again, it is understood, the 
intention of edifying does not prevent the scene from being 
treated in a picturesque manner After the life of the village 
it is the life of the hermitage that we have before our eyes. 
On the right two anchorites are splhting wood by means of 
axes which, if we may judge from their massive appearance 
and the form of their handles, must be made of stone; two 
others are occupied in lighting fires, and a fifth holds in 
his hand a sacrificial spoon, whilst two novices are car- 
rying on their shoulders the one a fagot of logs and the 
other a double basket of provisions. Among the trees at the 
back a sacred tumulus, as is proved by the balustrade sur- 
rounding it, must enclose the rehcs of some superior of the 
community, and thus gives the last touch of local colour ('). 

(i) We may notice that the form of this stiipa is the most ancient of 
which Indian art has preserved the image. In the objects decorating its 
circumference (along shell, a double basket (?), and a large conch) we should 
be disposed to see — like the oar planted by the companions of Ulysses on 
the tumulus of Elpenor — the implements used by the deceased during hi? 


But for the initiated all the details of the decoration have 
at the same time an edifying signiHcation. The texts tell us, 
in fact, that according to the will of the Blessed One these 
logs and these fires alternately refused and consented, the 
former to allow themselves to be split and the latter to let 
themselves burn. That is why, on the right, one of the ancho- 
rites continues to hold his axe in the air, without being 
able to lower it ('); whilst his neighbour has just succeeded 
by a lucky stroke in splitting his piece of wood. It is also 
for the same reason that, of the two Brahmans who are 
lighting their fires by fanning them with esparto screens, 
the one in the second row cannot succeed in obtaining any 
flame whatever, whilst the one in the first row sees his fire 
blaze up brightly. These two miracles are related to us by 
the Mahdvagga (i, 20, 12-13) in the same breath. But what 
then would be the role of the anchorite on the left? We 
imagine that we must turn to the Mahdvastu (III, p. 426, 
1. 15-18) for the answer. His attitude suffices by itself to 
indicate the twofold marvel, which is perfectly analogous 
to the preceding ones, of the oflFering which at first will 
not be detached from the spoon, then at last consents to 
fall — in the shape of a snail doubled up — into the sacri- 
ficial pile (pi. IX, i)- 

§ 9. — Front face of the left jamb. 

a) Nevertheless, in order to overcome the arrogance of 
the old Brahman, there was need of another miracle, whose 
decided importance was of sufficient value to cause it to be 

(i) We borrow this interpretation from the Mahdvastu, III, p. 428, 
1. 4-8, but -without concealing from ourselves the fact that it may just as 
well have been conceived afterwards in view of a bas-relief analogous to 
the one at S^nchi. 


placed upon the front of the pillar, as it forms the denou- 
ment of the episode in the Mahdvagga (i. 20, 15 ; wanting 
in the Mahdvastu) : « At this time there fell out of season a 
heavy rain, and a great flood followed ». You will understand 
henceforward why the Nairafijana has risen to the point 
of washing the lower branches of the trees, to the greatest 
terror of the monkeys who have taken refuge there, and also 
to the evident satisfaction of the water birds and even of a 
crocodile. On the swollen waters of the river old Kacyapa 
hastens in a curiously jointed canoe, attended by two 
ascetics with paddles, to the assistance ot the Blessed One. 
But the latter has left his seat (relegated to the bottom at 
the right of the composition), and has formed for himself 
a cc promenade », which allows him to walk about with 
dry feet in the midst of the wild waters. This time the 
anchorite cannot but recognize the transcendent superiority 
of his host : when we see him again below, standing on 
the bank with his disciples, he is turning his back towards 
us, in order to make in the direction of the master's ccfn^mmfl 
the gesture of submission oil anjaliQ). 

h) There remains then to be explained the panel imme- 
diately below. Once more it represents a king leaving his 
capital : chariot, music, guards, suite, spectators, every- 
thing, even the architecture, is similar to § 7 £t. Only we 
notice the way in which the rampart of bricks goes right to 
the top of the panel, in order to separate the city from the 

(i) It appears to us that the ingenious suggestion that he has prostrated 
himself must be put aside : for in that case we could not understand how his 
disciples could remain standing ; besides, the ilowers placed near him are 
scattered almost everywhere in the picture and are found likewise on one of 
the preceding bas-reliefs (§ 8 h). Also, the analogy of § 7 « is in oppo- 
sition to the identification of the cankrama ot the Blessed One with the 
great washing-stone brought to him on another occasion by the god Indra. 


scene which takes place on its outskirts. The first thing is to 
know the name ofthe town : but this time it is to the neigh- 
bouring scenes that we must address our questions. We have 
already seen above (p. 77) that they reply unanimously : it 
is the capital of Magadha. The texts for their part agree in 
telling us that immediately after the conversion ofthe Ka^ya- 
pas and their thousand disciples the Blessed One, at the 
head of his new community of saints, repaired to Raja- 
griha, and at the gates of the town received the solemn visit 
of King Bimbisara Q). In accordance with the usual cus- 
tom the king advanced in his good chariot as far as the 
road would allow a carriage to pass; then he descended and 
went on foot towards Buddha. This is what he is doing at 
the top on the left, followed by one sole companion, whose 
duty is to represent in his own person the king's innume- 
rable cortege. Before the empty throne ofthe Blessed One 
conventional indications of water and rocks succeed, in 
default of a wood of bamboos, in particularizing the location 
ofthe scene on the hill Antagiri near the famous hot springs 
of Rajgir Q. As for the rest of the story, it must naturally 
be supplemented by the help of the texts : the king and the 
people of Magadha wonder at first concerning Buddha and 
old Ka^yapa, which is the master and which the disciple; 
the public homage ofthe old anchorite will soon decide the 
question. If we see nothing of all this, it is because the 
Sanchi bas-reliefs systematically omit all representation 

(i) Mahavagga, I, 22; Mahdvastu, III, p. 441-449 ; Dlvydvaddna, p. 393. 


(2) Cf. CoNNiNGHAM, Arch. Reports, III. p. 140 : « I fixed the position of 
the Bamboo Forest to the south-west of Rajgir, on the hill lying between 
the hot-springs of Tapoban and old Mjagriha ». It is precisely by the « Gate 
of the Hot Springs » (tapoda-dvdra) that the Lalita-Visiara, xvi, makes 
Buddha for the first time enter Rajagriha. 


not only of Buddha, but also of his monks (cf. above, 
p, 75). It is easy to observe hovv^ infinitely clearer the sole 
representation of the latter makes the same series of epi- 
sodes on one of the pillars of the balustrades of Amaravati 
(Fergusson, pi. LXX, or Art greco-bouddh. du Gandh., 
fig. 228). 

c) Finally, every one must recognize at the top of this 
same face, in the religious fig-tree (ctfvattha) surmounted, 
as usual, by a parasol and inhabited by winged genii, the 
tree and the symbol of the perfect « Bodhi of the Blessed 
One (^akya-Muni » ; of this the inscription on an analo- 
gous bas-relief at Barhut convinces us. In both cases v^e 
find at the foot of the same tree the same throne, surmoun- 
ted by the same symbol (which is double at Barhut), and, 
about the offshoot of the branches, the same temple open 
to the sky. We may safely aver that this strange sanc- 
tuary is, at the earliest, that which A^oka had piously 
built around the sacred tree, more than two centuries after 
the death of the Master : but this flagrant anachronism is 
one of those to which we are perfectly accustomed in the 
rehgious art of all times and all countries, and does not in 
any wise prevent the picture from relating to the very 
miracle of the Illumination of Buddha. Perhaps it has not 
been observed with sufficient attention that the analogy of 
Barhut forces us to establish a close connection between 
this scene and the double row of people contiguous to it : 
the whole difference consists in the fact that here they are 
above it, while in the former case they are below; but the 
inscriptions prove that they are different categories of Gods, 
and must be regarded as grouped in adoration at the four 
cardinal points of the tree, as happened at the moment of 
the SambodhiQy Henceforward we must here also recog- 

(i) For the bas-reliefs see Cunningham, Barhut, pi. XIV, i, and for the 


nize in the four worshippers at the bottom « the four 
great kings », whohve in our atmosphere, to the right those 
of the east and the south, to the left those of the north and 
west. The ten persons of the first row, counting two for 
each heaven, would then indicate the kings and viceroys 
of the five other paradises of the Kamavacaras, just as on 
the face of the other pillar (§ 6) they happen to be repre- 
sented in their heavenly palaces; then the eight gods in the 
row above, of whose bodies (as in the case of the two who 
form their counterpart on the upper terrace on the right) only 
half is seen, would represent in twos the inhabitants of the 
four stages of Brahma's heaven, the last that we may ask the 
sculptor to show us (cf above, p. 71). Thus a close exami- 
nation reveals, under the evident striving after variety in 
the outer forms, a striking carefulness in balancing the 
intrinsic importance and the religious value of the subjects 
on the symmetrical faces of the two jambs. 

§ 10. Upper lintel. — We shall find traces of the same 
carefulness on the two faces of the Hntels, where, side by 
side with symmetrical decorations (cf. above, § 3), great 
Buddhist compositions also are to be found. We will begin 
our study of them at the top, a method which will appa- 
rently allow us to follow a certain chronological order in 
reviewing the scenes. 

a) Thus it is that the jrontal of the gate is occupied from 
one end to the other by a symbohcal representation of the 

inscriptions HoLTZiCH, lud. Antiquary, XXI, p. 235. Let us notice also on 
the front face of the lower lintel of the western gate (the back face of the 
same lintel in the restoration of to-day, and the front face of the upper lintel 
in the plan of Cole ap. Fergussom, pi. XVIII) that the defeat of Mira's 
army by Buddha is represented beside a Bodbi tree, which is already sur- 
rounded by his temple. 


seven last Buddhas of the past, typified alternately by the 
tumulus of their Parinirvdm and the tree of their Sambodhi 
(pi. VIII, i). The sculptor, having only two trees at his dis- 
posal, considered it his duty to give the honour of being 
placed on the fronton to the first and the last Buddha of 
the series : in fact, by comparison with the reverse side, 
one can distinctly recognize on the right of the central 
stupa, the Bignonia of Vipa^yin, and on the left the sacred 
fig-tree of Gautama, otherwise called ^akya-muni. On the 
other hand, the two missing tumuli are restored on the two 
upper supports (cf. § 4 a') of the reverse side, so as to com- 
plete the traditional number. This observation allows us to 
suppose that some aesthetic scruple alone prevented the 
artist from placing the seven stupas in a row on the facade, 
as on the other face he did not hesitate to do with the 
seven corresponding trees (cf. above, p. 72). 

b) For the rear facade (pi. VII, i) it will be sufficient to 
give, according to the text and the inscribed bas-reliefs at 
Barhut, a list of the seven Buddhas and their respective 
Bodkidrunias. Here they are, in the order in which they are 
presented, going from right to left of the spectator : 

Vipacyin (Pfl/z Vipassin). Patali (Bignonia suaveolens). 

Qkhin (P. Sikhin). Pundarika (Mangifera 

[and not nymphaa]). 

Vifvabhu (P. Vessabhu). (^a.h (Shorearobusta^. 

Krakucchanda (P, Kaku- Qirisha (Acacia sirissa). 


Kanakamuni (P. Kona- Udumbara {Ficus glome- 

gamana). rata}. 

Kacyapa (P. Kassapa). Nyagrodha (^Ficus indicd). 

Gautama (P. Gotama). A^vattha (Ficus religiosa). 

It will be well likewise to connect with this series the 


representation, on one of the upper supports of the facade, 
of the tree of the eighth and future Buddha of our age, 
Maitreya (cf. §4 a). 

§ II. Middle lintel — The middle lintel, which is closer 
to the eye of the spectator, replaces these symbolical 
pictures by two episodes, borrowed, the one from the youth, 
the other from the career of ^akya-muni. 

a) Front face. — We have already stated (above p. 75) 
what from the point of view of Buddhist iconography 
constitutes the chief interest of the central panel (pi. X, i). 
On the left we perceive the stereotyped representation of 
a town, proved by the context to be Kapilavastu, in its 
streets and at its windows the customary animation is to be 
seen (cf. § 7 a and S F) : il is clear that the sculptor has 
not troubled himself in the least about the fact — which of 
course he knew as well as we do — that the escape of the 
Bodhisattva took place during the night. The latter, on his 
good horse Karithaka, is passing through the city gate for 
« the great departure » (Mahdhhinishkramand) ■., and we 
can follow, to the right, in no less than four successive 
editions, the progress of his miraculous course : but on 
each occasion the embroidered rug which serves as a saddle 
to his steed is presented to us without a rider. Each time 
also the cortege is the same : Chandaka, the faithful atten- 
dant, holds, as usual, the parasol; four Gods are lifting the 
horse's feet, in order, it was thought, that the sound of his 
shoes might not give the alarm ; another has taken posses- 
sion of the fly-flapper : two others, who at first are dwarfs, 
but for the sake of variety, strangely enough, grow bigger 
by degrees as they advance towards the right, are carrying 
the ewer and the sandals ; next, others are throwing flowers, 
waving their scarves, or beating the heavenly drums. When 


the right jamb of the gate forces the sculptor to end the 
series of his repetitions, the attendant and the horse are, as 
it is written, taking leave of their Master. But the latter is 
figured only by the gigantic imprint of his feet^ marked by 
the wheel and surmounted by the fly-flapper and the parasol. 
Finally, at the bottom on the right, Chandaka is returning 
to the house, leading with him Kanthaka and bringing (in 
his right hand and in a kind of wallet slung over his 
shoulder) the jewels which the young prince has just taken 
off for ever, in order to embrace the religious life. The three 
persons, at once both edified and contrite, who follow, are, 
doubtless, the emissaries whom king ^uddhodana vainly 
charged to bring back his son. 

Such is the manifest meaning of this long scene : but we 
still have to account for the sacred tree — the parasol sur- 
mounting it, and the railing which surrounds it, are a proof 
of this sacredness — which occupies the centre of the 
panel. Assuredly it is there for reasons of symmetry ; but 
this position of honour demands also that it shall have a 
meaning : and this meaning will come to us the very 
moment that we recognize in it (thanks always to the 
comparison with the inscribed bas-relief of Barhut, Cun- 
ningham, pi. XLVIII, I r) a jambu tree (^Eugenia jambu). A 
jambu tree so close to Kapilavastu cannot be, in Buddhist 
art, anything but the one whose shadow ceased one day 
to turn to the sun, in order to continue to shelter « the first 
meditation » of the still young Bodhisattva. We shall 
notice how three persons, without ceasing to associate 
themselves with the principal action, form around the tree 
of the miracle the necessary group of worshippers. Thus 
the artist has been able to combine most ingeniously in 
one and the same picture a summary indication of the 
commencement, and a detailed representation of the ddnoue- 


ment, of the religious vocation of the Predestined. And who 
can say even whether the quadruple repetition of the horse 
and the procession leaving the town were not connected 
in his mind with the intervening episode of the famous 
« four outgoings », which by the successive encounter 
with an old man, a sick person, a dead man and a monk, 
revealed to the future Buddha the miseries of Hfe and the 
only way of salvation ? 

h) Rear face. — In case the good sculptor had still 
further intentions, may we be pardoned by his ashes, if we 
cannot perceive them! May he pardon us above all, if we 
cannot grasp exactly with what episode of the legend we 
must connect the scene that covers the whole reverse side 
of the middle lintel. It is, no doubt, the Buddha Cakya- 
muni who is supposed to be seated on this empty throne, 
since the tree which shelters it is a Holy Fig-tree, exactly 
similar to the one which decorates the left projection of the 
upper lintel. On the other hand, the Blessed One is evidently 
far in the jungle, in the sole companionship of the beasts 
assembled to do him homage and belonging as much to 
the kingdom of phantasy as to the kmgdom of nature. First 
of all, there are four lions guarding his throne, two seen in 
full face and two in profile; then buffalos and antelopes, 
observed and rendered in a marvellous manner ; and further- 
more birds, some with, and some without crests, bearing 
flowers and fruits in their beaks. Side by side with these real 
animals we see dream-monsters : on the right, bulls with 
human faces and — forgetting their natural enmity in the 
contemplation of the Blessed One — a great polycephalous 
serpent by the side of an enormous vulture Garuda, whose 
ears are adorned with earrings ; on the left Tibetan dogs, 
with manes and claws. To sum up, nearly the whole of the 
sculptor's decorative menagerie was mobilized in this scene. 


Now there was indeed a celebrated occasion on which, after 
the great internal quarrel of Kaugambi, Buddha left his com- 
munity, in order to retire into solitude : and he was 
among the beasts and the beasts even served him (Mahd- 
vagga, X, 4, 6-7). But here we find none of the traditional 
details of the episode, at least as it is related in the Pali 

§ 12. Lower linid. — Then the last lintel seems to us to 
bear on its two faces scenes subsequent to the death of 

a) Front face. — In the centre stands the tree now so 
well known to us as that of his Illumination (cf. § 9 c) • 
but here this tree receives a royal visit. It is quite cer- 
tain that the Blessed One was not visited by any king at 
Bodh-Gaya : for the texts give us a detailed account of the 
manner in which he employed the days, and even weeks, 
which preceded and followed his attainment of omniscience. 
It remains, therefore, that it can only have been in comme- 
moration of Buddha that the ceremony here represented 
took place. Let us remind ourselves, however, of what is 
told us of Afoka, how the great emperor evinced a special 
devotion to the tree of the Bodhi, and continually show- 
ered presents upon it, so many and so often that his favorite 
queen, Tishyarakshita, looking upon it as a rival, became 
jealous and caused a pariah sorceress to cast a spell 
upon it. The tree began to wither, and Acoka declared 
that he would not survive it; fortunately the queen, being 
undeceived, was able in time to arrest the effect of the 
witchcraft; whereupon the emperor decided to do « what 
none of the sovereigns of the past, neither Bimbisara nor 
the others, had done », that is, to come in procession and, 
with a view to giving back to the tree all its first splen- 


dour, « to water it with pitchers of scented water » 
QDivydvaddna, p. 397-398). Now what is it exactly that we 
see here (pi. X, 2)? On the right a king, accompanied, as 
usual, by his wives, his orchestra, and his guards, dismounts 
languishingly from his elephant, encouraged, it seems, by 
his queen and helped by a young dwarf. The latter is pro- 
bably a Yaksha, exactly like those who frequent the interior 
of the sanctuary; for we are told that, like Solomon, Agoka 
commanded the genii. Immediately on the right of the 
sacred tree we see again the same king, preceded by his 
queen, and both with their hands devoutly clasped render 
homage to it. On the other side there advances Hkewise, 
to the sound of another orchestra, a solemn procession of 
faithful laymen, bearing banners, flowers, and further (in 
their midst and in the front rank) pitchers, evidently inten- 
ded for the watering of the tree. This last detail has won 
our conviction (cf. above, p. 79). Finally, from this identi- 
fication it would result that this time the indication of 
the temple round the tree open to the sky would not be 
an anachronism (cf. p. 102). 

b) Rear face. — Besides, as we have already said, this 
is not the only legend belonging to the cycle of A^oka 
that seems to us to have inspired the image-makers of 
Sanchi, Concerning the tumulus of Ramagrama two other 
stories were still current among them ; or rather two ver- 
sions of the same story. According to one this stupa was 
honoured by mythical serpents (ndgd); in the other it was 
wild elephants (n&ga') who paid their devotions to it : we 
are not far from beheving that this simple pun gave rise to 
the two forms of the tradition. However that may be, the 
first is figured on the southern gate : the other, we believe, 
is here. Besides, whatever may be the name by which the 
stupa is called, there is no doubt as to the meaning of the 


Story written in stone. Tliose are, in fact, wild elephants, 
which are marching in procession towards the sanctuary 
from the two extremities of the lintel ; and it is indeed as 
votive offerings that they lift in their trunks, or are still 
dragging with their tusks, flowers torn from the lotuses in 
the nearest lake. 

We shall here end these notes, already, perhaps, too 
long and nevertheless most summary. If we wished to 
describe in detail and one by one the five hundred and more 
characters, who, without counting the animals, figure 
on this one gate alone, we should never have finished ; 
and we might just as well undertake to write an ency- 
clopaedia of Indian Antiquities. The Httle that we have said 
will, at least, be sufficient to justify the double allegation 
which we believed might be put forward regarding this gate 
(p. 80) : it seems in fact upon investigation that these 
sculptures are for the most part deciphered ; and no one will 
think of disputing the fact that they offer a certain amount 
of interest for the history of civilization in general, and 
more especially for that of art applied to religion. 


All the photographs of which plates VII-X are composed have been 
kindly lent to us by the Director- General of Archaeology in India, 
Mr. J. H. Marshall, and all the stereotypes by M. E. Leroux. 

Pi. VII, I : ( 


d on pp. 63-64 

PI. VII, 2 : 


72, 79> 87-8, 104, 107-8, 109-110 

PI. VIII, I : 


65-66, 86-89 

PI. VIII, 2 : 


71, 85-86 

PI. IX, I : 


76, 97-99 

PI. IX, 2 : 



PI. X, I : 


75. 105-7 

PI. X, 2 : 


79- io8-9 


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PL. X 





The Greek Origin of the Image of Buddha 0. 

One of the advantages of the Mus(^e Guimet most 
appreciated by its orientalist lecturers is that they are free 
to dispense with the oratorical precautions which they 
must take everywhere else. Generally, wherever they ven- 
ture to open their mouths, they believe themselves obliged 
to begin by asking pardon of their auditors for the great 
liberty which they take in speaking on subjects so far 
removed from their usual occupations and for drawing 
them into surroundings so different from those in which 
they are accustomed to move. Such a formahty would 
in this case be entirely superfluous. You could not but 
be aware of the fact that on crossing the threshold of 
this Museum you would immediately find yourself trans- 
ported from Europe to Asia, and you would hardly expect 
me to apologize for speaking of Buddha in the home of 
Buddha. For, if he is not the sole inhabitant of this hospi- 
table house, haven of all exotic manifestations of reli- 
gious art, I dare at least to say that he is its principal tenant. 
To whatever gallery your steps may lead you, be it conse- 
crated to India or to China, to Indo -China or to Tibet, to 
Japan or to Java, him you will never fail to meet again and 
again, in room after room, with the dreamy look of his half- 
closed eyes and his perpetual smile, at once sympathizing 
and disillusionized. If the distraction of yourgaze, wandering 

(i) Lecture at the Mus^e Guimet [Bihliotheque de Vulgarisation du Musee 
Guimet, vol. XXXVIII). 



from image to image, does not too much dissipate your atten- 
tion, and if your minds succeed by degrees in disregarding the 
diversity of the dimensions and the variety of the materials, 
you will not be long in noticing that always and everywhere, 
minute or gigantic, carved in wood, cut in stone, modelled 
in clay, cast or beaten in metal, he continues to be astonish- 
ingly like himself. Soon, by dint of verifying the justness 
of this first observation, you will arrive at the reflexion that 
so great an uniformity supposes, at the origin of all these 
idols, the existence of a common prototype, from which 
they will have been more or less remotely descended. 
And thus in the end you are inevitably confronted by the 
question which I have to-day set myself the task of answer- 
ing. If it shall appear that the reply brings us back straight- 
way and in a rather unexpected manner towards the 
familiar horizons of our classic antiquity, well! that will 
simply be one more element of interest. 

But before interrogating the images of Buddha concern- 
ing their more distant origins, it is well to define exactly 
what we mean by the name. Europeans commonly make 
the strangest abuse of it. How many times have I not 
heard — and usually on the most charming lips — the 
very elementary principles of Buddhist iconography out- 
raged, and no matter what statuette, Chinese, Tibetan, 
or Japanese, however monstrous it might be, thought- 
lessly designated by the name which ought to be reserved 
for ^akyamuni and his peers! What would you think of an 
Asiatic who should designate en bloc, by the one name of 
« Christ », not only Our Lord, God the Father, the Holy 
Ghost, and the Blessed Virgin, but also all the angels, all 
the saints, and even all the devils of Christianity? After 
having first laughed, you would soon cry out at the sacri- 
lege : and yet that is what we calmly do every day by lump- 


ing together under the name of the one Buddha all the 
inhabitants of the Buddhist heavens and even hells. There- 
fore, let me implore you, once for all — especially the 
ladies — no more thus to profane the name of the Blessed 
One by applying it indifferently at one time to savage or 
even obscene demons, at another to extravagant divinities, 
bristling with manifold heads and arms, and at another to 
simple monks. 

In strictness, the title of « Illuminated » — for such is 
very nearly the equivalent of « Buddha » — ought to be re- 
served for a personage whom, for my part, I should not 
hesitate to regard as historic, for that scion of the noble 
family of the ^akyas, who was born in the north of India, 
at the foot of the central Himalaya, towards the middle of 
the VI"' century before our era ; who about his thirtieth 
year gave up his possessions, his parents, his wife, his 
child, in order to embrace the wandering life of a mendi- 
cant monk ; who, after six years of vain study and austerities, 
finally at the foot of the ever-green fig-tree of Bodh-Gaya 
discovered the secret of liberating human beings from 
the evils of existence ; who during more than forty years 
preached in the middle portion of the basin of the Ganges 
salvation by the suppression of desire, the root of all suffer- 
ing ; who died and was cremated ; whose ashes, regarded 
as holy reUcs, were distributed to the four quarters of 
India and deposited under vast tumuli, where we still find 
them to-day ; whose image, finally, is still enthroned 
above the flower-adorned altars, mid clouds of incense and 
murmurs of prayers, in all the pagodas of the Far East. 
And, doubtless, this effigy served in its turn as a model for 
those of the mythical predecessors, or of the transcendent 
hypostases, which Indian imagination was not long in creat- 
ing for him in unlimited numbers, through infinite 


time and space, in the depths of our terrestrial past as 
well as in the abysses where at this moment move all the 
other universes. But such is the servile fidelity of these 
copies that from the iconographic point of view one may 
say : « There is no Buddha but Buddha ». Now the essen- 
tial character of this figure is precisely that always and 
everywhere, through all the differences of gesture and pose, 
it assumes only one form, simply and purely human. This 
is the most important fact to be borne in mind. As for the 
particular signs which prevent our ever faiUng to recognize 
the type, the first statue or photograph to your hand will 
familiarize you with them. 


Here then we are agreed : together we seek the origin of 
the image of the Indian mendicant who, by the prestige of 
his intelligence, his goodness and, perhaps, also of his per- 
sonal beauty, exercized over his contemporaries an 
influence capable of forming a basis for one of the three 
great religions of the world, that which from his epithet 
we call Buddhism. At the first view the problem does not 
seem so very complicated. Granted that all these represen- 
tations seem to descend from a common prototype, the 
question resolves itself into discovering the place, time, 
and occasion of the first appearance of this type. In other 
words, it will be necessary, but sufficient, to determine 
which are the most ancient known images of Buddha. 
Theoretically, nothing is more simple; in practice we 
quickly perceive that the thing is sooner said than done. 

It is in Ceylon, the first Buddhist stage on the maritime 
high road of Asia, that the European usually finds himself 


for the first time in the presence of veritable idols of the 
Blessed One. Most often he restricts himself to an excur- 
sion , along red roads losing themselves in the distance under 
a slowly diminishing arch of green palmeries, to the singu- 
larly modernized temple of Kelani, a little to the north of 
Colombo. But, even if he pushed on as far as the ancient 
ruined towns of the interior, he would be no more success- 
ful in finding in their old statues the original type which we 
are seeking. With still greater reason would he renounce the 
idea of encountering it in the other terrestrial paradise, 
that of the austral hemisphere ; for the not less luxuriant 
island of Java was also only an Indian colony, and, 
doubtless, it became so later than did Ceylon. The hun- 
dreds of Buddhas who have given a name to Boro-Budur 
are attributed only to the IX"' century of our era. The even 
more recent character of the majority of the idols which 
are still venerated in Cambodia, Siam and Burmah 
shows only too clearly through their tinsel and their gild- 
ing. The most ancient Lamaic images could hardly be 
anterior to the official proclamation of Buddhism in Tibet 
towards the year 632. In Japan everyone will tell you that 
the figure of the Master was not introduced there until the 
VI"' century, and that it came from China through the inter- 
mediacy of Corea. Nor do the most ancient Chinese images 
known to us, those of the grottoes of Long-Men or of Ta- , 
t'ong-fu, which M. Chavannes has just made known by 
reproductions, go back beyond the IV"' century (*). 
Finally, the last archaeological missions in Central Asia 
have succeeded in proving, as had already been supposed, 
that their model came from India by the two routes which 

(i) E. Chavannes, Mission archdologique dans la Chine septentrionak, 
Paris, 1909. 


on the north and the south skirt the desert of Turkes- 
tan C). 

Thus clearly were we directed in advance to seek the 
plastic origins of Buddha in the very places which saw 
the beginning of his doctrine. And, were it not of inte- 
rest to prove the diffusion and permanence of the type 
through the whole of eastern Asia, we might have spared 
ourselves this vast circuit. The point clearly marked for 
the serious commencement of our quest is the country of 
Magadha, otherwise that province of Behar which the lat- 
est imperial proclamation of Delhi has just officially detach- 
ed from Bengal. But the numerous statues in black bas- 
alt, which we there find — to begin with that which has 
been set up over the altar of the temple of Bodh-Gaya, at 
the very spot where the Illuminated received his Illumina- 
tion — , go back for the most part only to the dynasty of 
the Palas, which was overthrown by the Musalmans in the 
XII"" century of our era. The excavations of Sarnath, 
the site of the First Preaching, in the northern suburb of 
Benares, have furnished us with more ancient examples, 
carved in a grey sandstone of an uniform tint, which mark 
at the time of the Gupta Kings (IV"" and V"' centuries a. d.) 
a kind of renaissance of Indian art. More to the north-west 
the ruins of Mathura, far to the south-west those of Ama- 
ravati have suppUed us with still older ones, which the 
mention on the former of the Indo-Scyths, on the second of 
the Andhras carry as far back as the 11°** century of our era. 
But whether carved in the yellow-spotted red sandstone of 

(i) See, for example, in Grunwedel, Bericht uher archdologische Arbeiten 
in Idikutschari und Umgebung im Winter 1902-1903 (Munich, 1906), pi. IV, 
fig. I, a specimen from Turfan, and in M. A. Stein, Ancient Khotan, 
pi. LXXXII, 2, another example from the environs of Khotan. 


Mathura or in the white marble of Amaravati, they are as 
like as brothers, and everyone will agree that they are des- 
cended from a common ancestor of blue slate and native 
to the north-western corner of India. 

Thus, following our thread, we have already remounted 
in the scale of years nearly twenty out of the twenty five 
centuries which separate us from the time of Buddha. The 
result is appreciable, and can only encourage us to conti- 
nue. But just at this moment the thread which guided us 
step by step through the chaos of Buddhist art breaks 
off sharp in our hands. While statues of the Master, dated 
with certainty from the first century after, if not before, 
Christ, are to be found abundantly in the Upper Panjab — as 
is proved by the collections of the provincial capital (pi. XI, 
i) — we vainly seek their archetype in the still older mo- 
numents of central India, prior to the second century of our 
era. One significant fact robs us even of all hope of ever 
finding it by means of some excavation either better 
carried out or more successful. While on all the bas-reliefs 
of the Panjab the Blessed One is represented standing in the 
middle of the panel, on the balustrades or the gates of Barhut 
orof Sanchi he is totally absent even from the scenes of his 
own biography. This fact is too well known to be again 
dwelt upon, especially as we have already made an experi- 
mental verification of it ('). All that I wish to insist upon 
to-day is that the oldest known Buddhas are those which 
we have encountered in the « House of Marvels », as the 
natives call the museum of Lahore. To complete the geo- 
graphical part of our quest, it remains only to find out 
exactly whence these Buddhas come. The former keeper — 
whom many of us know from the fine portrait drawn by 

(i) See above, pp. 4-5 and 74-5. 


the filial piety of Rudyard Kipling at the beginning of 
« Kim » — is no longer there to tell lis ; we regret to have 
heard last year of his death, and moreover he retired long 
ago. But his successor will answer you that all these car- 
vings came originally from the district of Peshawar, on the 
right bank of the Indus, at its confluence with the Kabul- 
Rud... And, doubtless, your first astonishment will be 
that, after having vainly sought not only throughout the 
whole of still Buddhist Asia, but in the very places which 
saw the birth of Buddhism, the cradle of the images of the 
founder, we have finally discovered it in a Musalman coun- 
try and on the western confines of India. 

What this district is at present I would only too wiUingly 
stop to describe to you; for I have trodden it in every direc- 
tion during happy months of archaeological campaigning. 
Gandhara — for such was its Sanskrit name — shows us 
after all only a vast, gently undulating plain, bristling in 
places with rugged hills, and three parts encircled by a belt 
of fawn-coloured or bluish mountains, which nearly every- 
where limit the horizon. But the opening left by them on 
the south-east over the Indus is the great gate of India ; and 
to the west the winding Khyber pass remains the principal 
route of communication between the peninsula and the 
Asiatic continent; and the towns which formerly guarded 
this ancient route of invading armies and merchant cara- 
vans were Purushapura (now Peshawar); Pushkaravati, 
the Peukelaotis of the Greeks ; ^alatura, the natal town of 
Panini, the great legislator of Sanskrit grammar ; Udabhan- 
da (now Und), where the great river was passed, in 
winter by a ford, in summer by a ferry, and whence in 
three days one reached Takshagila, the Taxila of the histo- 
rians of Alexander... And immediately you feel how in this 
country, which one might call doubly classic, memories 


associated with the two antiquities, Hellenic and Indian, 
arise from the ground at each step. Even if history had 
not preserved for us any remembrance of the memorable 
encounter between the two civilizations, the mute wit- 
nesses in stone, which we have come purposely to interrog- 
ate, would be sufficient to estabHsh it. To cut as short as 
possible (*), let me lead you straight to the centre of the 
country, into the little garrison town of Hoti-Mardan : and 
there, at the hospitable mess of the regiment of the Guides, 
I will show you, leaning against the wall of the dining- 
room and no longer inhaHng any incense but the smoke 
of the cigars, the most beautiful, and probably also the 
most ancient, of the Buddhas which it has ever been grant- 
ed to me to encounter (pi. XI, 2). 

Look at it at leisure. Without doubt you will appreciate 
its dreamy, and even somewhat effeminate, beauty ; but at 
the same time you cannot fail to be struck by its Hellenic 
character. That this is a statue of Buddha there is not the 
least doubt : all the special signs of which I was speaking a 
short time ago bear witness to its identity j/Is it neces- 
sary to make you lay your fingers upon that ample monastic 
robe, that pretended bump of wisdom on the crown of the 
head, that mole between the eyebrows, that lobe of the ear 
distended by the wearing of heavy earrings, and left bare 
because of the total renunciation of worldly adornments? 
These are all traits which we might have anticipated from the 
perusal of the sacred texts. But, if it is indeed a Buddha, it 

(i) Here, of course, we can only note the principal points. Those -who 
are anxious for details concerning the country, its archaeological sites, and 
the results of the excarations, will pardon us if we refer them to our works 
Sur la frontiere indo-afghane (Paris, 1901), La Geographic ancienne du Gan- 
dhdra (B. E. F. E-0, I, 1901), L'Art greco-bouddhique du Gandhdra (Paris, 


is no less evidently not an Indian work. Your European 
eyes have in this case no need of the help of any Indianist, 
in order to appreciate with full knowledge) the orb of the 
nimbus, the waves of the hair, the straightness of the pro- 
file, the classical shape of the eyes, the sinuous bow of 
the mouth, the supple and hollow folds of the draperies. 
All these technical details, and still more perhaps the 
harmony of the whole, indicate in a material, palpable and 
striking manner the hand of an artist from some Greek 
studio. If the material proofs of the attribution constitute 
what I should be prepared to call the native contribution, 
neither will you hesitate to ascribe to an occidental influence 
the formal beauty of the work. Thus the statue of Mardan, 
with all its congeners, appears to us as a kind of compro- 
mise, a hybrid work, which would not in any language 
have a name, had not the no less heterocHte term of 
« Greco-Buddhist » been forthwith invented for ity 


Such is the — I must confess unexpected — result of 
our researches on the spot. It is only in the country which 
from our point of view we might quite correctly call the 
vestibule of India, that we finally discover the archetype 
of Buddha; and when at last we find it, it is to acknow- 
ledge that its appearance is at the least as much Greek 
as Indian. The fact is, doubtless, sufficiently surprising to 
call for some commentary. What historical circumstances 
can have rendered possible, and even spontaneously engen- 
dered, this creation of the Indo-Greek type of Buddha? 
What attracts us most in the question is, I will warrant, how 
the Hellenic influence could thus have reached as far as the 


banks of the Indus. Allow me to call your attention to the 
fact that Gandharais scarcely further, as the crow flies, from 
the mouth of the Hellenized Euphrates than from that of 
the Buddhist Ganges. In reality the problem has two faces, 
like the images which we have to explain. To account for 
the birth of such a statue, it is necessary to justify the pene- 
tration not only of Greek Art, but also of the Buddhist reli- 
gion, into the country which was to be the theatre of their 
prolific union. And it is indeed with the latter that it will be 
best to undertake the historical part of our quest. 

At the present time not only is this unfortunate Gan- 
dhara, which had always so much to suffer from its situa- 
tion on the high road of the conquerors of Asia, no longer 
Buddhist; it has become more than half Afghan in race, 
Iranian in language, and withal Musalman. It is a curious 
fact that, according to Strabo, at the time of the rude and 
passing conquest of Alexander, the « Gandaritis » did not 
form a part of India, which at that time commenced only 
at the Indus. Seleukos, after his fruitless attempt at inva- 
sion in 305 before our era, is said to have ceded it by 
treaty, together with the hand of his daughter, in ex- 
change for 500 elephants, to the first historical emperor 
of India, that Candragupta whom the Greek historians call 
Sandrakottos. Fifty years later this district still formed part 
of the domains of the latter's grandson, the famous A50- 
ka; and he caused to be engraved on a huge rock, half-way 
up a hill near the present village of Shahbaz-Garhi (pi. XII, 
i), the pious edicts in which he recommended to his peo- 
ple the practice of all the virtues, beginning with kindness 
to animals. From the fifth of these edicts it quite clearly 
appears that for him Gandhara was a frontier country, still 
to be evangelized. "We know, on the other hand, the zeal of 
this « Constantine of Buddhism » for the propagation of the 


Good Law. Then again, according to the Singhalese chro- 
nicle, the Mahdvamsa, it was precisely during his reign that 
the apostle Madhyantika converted Gandhara as well as 
Kashmir. Thus the religion of Buddha would have taken 
more than two hundred years to spread from Magadha as far 
as the frontiers of northern India, We see no reason for con- 
testing the authenticity of a tradition in itself so probable. 

Besides, whatever may be the exact date of the introduc- 
tion of Buddhism into Gandhara, it must there have been 
specially successful. We shall end by finding there, duly 
acclimatized and deeply rooted, a quantity of legends which 
the missionaries had brought with them from the low 
country. Some did not hesitate to bring Buddha himself 
on the scene. It was, they said, the Master in person, who 
had overcome the terrible Naga of the Swat river, and had 
limited the disastrous inundations, whence this aquatic 
genius derives all his subsistence, to one in every twelve 
years. In the same way it was no longer at Rajagriha, but 
at one stage to the north-west of Pushkaravati, that the 
Blessed One is now supposed to have converted the insati- 
able ogress of Smallpox. Thanks to the want of ortho- 
doxy on the part of mothers, when the health of their chil- 
dren is in question, this last superstition has in the minds 
of the present inhabitants of the country almost alone 
survived the total wreck of Buddhism. A small quantity of 
earth from a certain tamulus, placed in the tow\, or amulet- 
case, usually suspended round the neck of the new-born, is 
still considered an infallible preservative against the terrible 
infantile epidemic ; and it is owing to this curious property, 
joined to the topographical information of Hiuan-tsang, 
that I was able to recognize the traditional site of this 

However, it was to be feared that these narratives of a 

Greek origin of the buddha type 125 

personal intervention of the historic Buddha in Gandhara 
might justly meet with the same incredulity as those which, 
in my native province, begin with the words : « At that time, 
our Lord Jesus Christ was travelling in Brittany... » For the 
purpose of localization in the country they preferred, it 
seems, to fall back upon the numerous previous lives in the 
course of which the future Buddha attained the summit — 
or, as we should say to-day, estabUshed a record — in all 
perfections. The monks of several convents in the neigh- 
bourhood of Shahbaz-Garhi had, for instance, divided 
among themselves, by very clever adaptation to the pictur- 
esque accidents of the landscape, the various episodes of 
the romance of Vigvantara, that monomaniac of charity. 
Others had, so to speak, specialized either in the touching 
story of the young anchorite Qyama, sole support of his 
old blind parents, or in the galant adventure of the wise 
Ekagringa, whom the seductions of a courtesan reduced to 
the role of beast of burden, etc... But they did not stop 
there ; an exceptionally holy tetrad of great stupas, situated 
in Gandhara proper, or in the bordering territories, soon 
marked the place where the Sublime Being had formerly, 
in one existence after another, made a gift of his flesh, his 
eyes, his head, and his body — the first to buy back a dove 
from a hawk, the last to satisfy a famished tigress, and the 
two others with an intention whose practical utility, if not 
its edifying character, escapes us. And thus northern India 
came to possess, like central India, its « four great pilgri- 
mages ». It is not in any way an exaggeration to say that 
Gandhara thus became (after Magadha) as it were a second 
Holy Land of Buddhism ; and we see that certain Chinese 
pilgrims were quite content with a visit there, without 
feeling the necessity of pushing as far as the basin of the 


Only this local prosperity of Buddhism can explain to us 
the number and the richness of the ancient religious foun- 
dations of the country. Some repose under the tumuli 
which dot the plains on every side, and are used by the 
present inhabitants as stone-quarries. Others are hidden in 
the folds of the mountains, or with their crumbling walls 
cover the sharp crest of some spur. Among the former I 
will name to you in particular those which underly the 
enormous mound of Sahri-Bahlol (pi. XIII) : though 
excavated long ago, they still with their artistic spoils enrich 
the museum which has lately been established in Peshawar, 
as capital of the new « North- West Frontier Province ». 
Among the second I will show you as a specimen the cele- 
brated ruins of Takht-i-Bahai with their equally inexhausti- 
ble reserves (pi. XII, 2) ; on the platform above the imposing 
retaining walls rise the dismantled chapels where once were 
enthroned the statues which have since taken the road to 
our museums, those mortuaries of dead Gods. You are free 
to restore them in thought with the splendour borrowed 
from the colours, and even from the gold, with which in 
former days care was taken to increase in the dazzled eyes 
of the faithful their appearance of life. But, above all, you 
must grasp the fact that in this country you literally walk 
on ruins, and there is scarcely a corner where a few strokes 
with the pick-axe will not bring to light some Buddhist bas- 
relief or statue. Evidently Hiuan-tsang was scarcely exag- 
gerating, when he estimated approximately, and in round 
numbers, at a thousand the number of monasteries which 
once constituted the ornament, as also the sanctity, of 
Gandhara. If you will now reflect that this anti-chamber 
of India has from all times been the region most open to 
western influences, moral as well as artistic, you will un- 
derstand the double role which it was naturally called upon 


to play in the evolution of the religion which it had embra- 
ced with so much zeal. The numerous doctors whom it 
has produced have taken a preponderating part in the trans- 
formation of the Buddhist egoistical « salvation » into the 
theory of a charity more widely active, but also of a cha- 
racter more metaphysical and pietistic, which its adherents 
adorned with the name of Mahayana. But the important 
thing for us here is not so much the abstruse depth of its 
theologians as the pious generosity of its donors. It was 
they who, according to all probability, took the initiative 
in utilizing for the satisfaction of their religious zeal the 
talent and resource of the Hellenistic artists, whom his- 
torical circumstances had led as far as Ariana. And thus 
they made their country the creative home whence Buddhist 
iconography was by degrees propagated throughout the 
rest of India and the Far East. 

Of the two elements, the Greek and the Buddhist, which 
concurred in the production of our Gandhara statues, we 
comprehend then already the second. It remains to explain 
the intervention of the first. But this is a story already fami- 
liar to you, and it will be sufficient if I recall it in a few 
words; or rather I should like to give you an illustration 
and, as it were, a direct apprehension ofit, by putting before 
your eyes the most artistic of the documents — or, if you 
prefer, the most documentary of the works of art — I mean 
the coins. 

In the first place, I shall mention only by way of remin- 
der Alexander's forced entrance into India in the spring 
of the year 326 before our era. We too much forget that 
it was on his part a notable folly to venture during 
the hottest months of the year on the burning plains 
of the Pan jab; that he was soon forced to retire, and that 


his retreat across the deserts of Gedrosia (the present Be- 
luchistan) ended disastrously — so that this expedition 
into India, if only we replace the cold by the heat, the 
snow by the sands, was, as it were, the Russian cam- 
paign of the Macedonian conqueror. Much more fruitful of 
results was the constitution of the Greek kingdom of Bac- 
tria, on the confines of the north-west of India, about 250 
B. C, in open revolt against the Seleucides. The beautiful 
coin of Alexander, son of PhiUp, which you see in pi. XIV, 2, 
was struck not by Alexander himself, but in imitation of 
his by king Agathokles, whose name and titles you read on 
the reverse, encircling the image of Zeus. Everything in 
this medal is still purely Greek. 

Fifty years later Demetrios, son of Euthydemos, profit- 
ing by the break-up of the empire of the Mauryas, con- 
quers and annexes the whole of northern India; and 
immediately you see in that helmet, made from the 
head of an elephant, as it were a trace of the Indian orien- 
tation of his policy (pi. XIV, 2). This latter must, be- 
sides, have ended by costing him his original kingdom. An- 
other valiant condottiere, Eukratides, rebelled in his turn, 
and made himself master of Bactria; so that, as Strabo tells 
us, there remained to Demetrios nothing more than his 
Indian conquests, and he was henceforward known under 
the name of « King of the Indians ». This is a capital fact, to 
which I could not too strongly draw your attention. 
During a century and more the Panjab was thus a Greek 
colony, in the same way as it afterwards became Scythian, 
then Mogul, and finally EngUsh. That is to say, a handful 
of foreigners, supported by mercenary troops, in great part 
recruited in the country itself, became mastery there, and 
' levied the taxes. You may easily perceive that/this kingdom 
was a centre of attraction for Greek adventurers of all kinds, 


beginning with soldiers of fortune and mountebanks, and 
passing by way of merchants to the artists who took 
upon themselves, among other tasks, that of making the 
superb coins to which we are indebted for the survival 
of the classically sounding names and the energetic features 
of those so-called « Basileis », changed into very authentic 

Of all these Indo-Greek kings I will name only Menan- 
der (pi. XIV, 2), since he is known to us not merely from 
the narrative of Plutarch, but also from Indian texts. A 
curious apologetic treatise, entitled « The Questions of 
Milinda » and composed as a dialogue in the Platonic 
manner, brings before us in the town of Sagala on the 
one hand Hellenism, represented by Menander, the 
king of the Yavanas (lonians), and. on the other hand 
Buddhism, in the person of Nagasena, one of the pa- 
triarchs of the church. According to native tradition the 
monk even converted the king. However, on the reverse of 
his coins, Pallas Athene continues still to brandish the 
paternal lightning of Zeus. She does not seem in any way 
to care how little her image squares with the exotic sur- 
roundings of the language and the writing in which 
Menander, generalizing a usage inaugurated by his pre- 
decessors, is always careful to have the Greek legend of the 
face translated for the use of his Indian subjects. Never, in 
truth, were the circumstances more favourable than during 
his reign (between 150 and 100 B. C.) for planting the 
germ of the whole subsequent development of Greco-Bud- 
dhist art by the creation of the Indo-Greek type of Bud- 
dhayWhat, iVfact, is that beautiful statue which I showed 
yoii just now (pi. XI, 2), but an Asiatic coin struck in Eu- 
ropean style ? And what more simple for artists initiated 
into all the secrets of Hellenic art, as were the authors of 



those magnificent medals, than to adopt for the representa- 
tion of the Indian Saviour the most intellectual type of their 
beardless Olympians? Thus we arrive quite naturally at 
the strange and quaint mixture which we were analysing 
a short time ago, at this statue, which is a Hellenized 
Buddha, unless you prefer to describe it as an Indianized 
figure of Apolloj/^ 

Thus must nave been created under the industrious 
fingers of some Graeculus of more or less mixed descent — 
and perhaps, also, who knows? at the command of a Greek 
or an Eurasian convert to Buddhism — the earliest of 
the images of Buddha. Yet, since we are forced to touch 
upon the question of chronology, it is only, I must con- 
fess, in the first century of our era, that the type of Buddha 
at last makes its appearance on the reverse of the coins. 
And certainly his name is still written there in Greek char- 
acters cc Boddo ». But on the observe, instead of an elegant 
Greek, we perceive the figure of another invader, of a beard- 
ed Scythian, grotesquely accoutred in his high boots and 
the rigid basques of his tunic (pi. XIV, 2). His name is 
given in the inscription : he is the « Shah of the Shahs » 
Kanishka, he who was after Afoka the second great emperor 
of the Buddhist legend, and whom M. S. L^vi has in his 
turn so well surnamed the « Clovis » of northern India : 
for he also — either from conviction or from calculation — 
became converted to the religion of the country vanquished 
by his arms. But, just as the Frank Clovis had no part in 
the development of Gallo-Roman art, you may easily ima- 
gine that the Turk Kanishka had no direct influence on 
that of Indo-Greek art; and, besides, we hold now the certain 
proof that during his reign this art was already stereotyped, 
if not decadent. 

All the Chinese Buddhist pilgrims who from the IV"' to 


the X*'' centuries of our era visited the holy places of India 
agree, in fact, in testifying, that Kanishka had built by the 
side of his winter capital Purushapura « the highest pagoda 
of the country ». Now in the course of my journey on the 
Indo-Afghan frontier, on the 21" of January 1897, among 
the numerous tumuli — simple refuse of brick kilns or ves- 
tiges of ancient monuments — which are scattered over 
the flat outskirts of Peshawar, I thought I recognized in one 
(pi. XIV, i), by reason of its site, its form, its composition, 
its surroundings, finally of a number of concordant indica- 
tions — not to count that secret voice of things, which soon 
whispers to the heart of the archaeologist — , the remains 
of the great religious foundation of Kanishka. That dusty 
mound, which, if in circumference it measured three hun-. 
dred metres, was not more than 4 or 3 metres above the 
present ground surface, did not look very promising. How- 
ever, when the Anglo-Indian government did at last reorgan- 
ize its archaeological service, Messrs. Marshall and Spooner 
were pleased to consider that the proposed identification 
was at least worth the trouble of verification by digging. 
The results of the first campaign, during the cold sea- 
son 1 907-1 908, were most disappointing. Fortunately 
the English archaeologists were not discouraged ; in March 
1909 they at last determined the dimensions of the base of 
the sanctuary — the vastest, indeed, that has ever been dis- 
covered in India — and soon they were fortunate enough 
to unearth in the centre the famous relics of Buddha, which 
Chinese evidence assures us were deposited there by 
Kanishka himself, and which to-day Burmah is so proud of 
possessing. They were enclosed in a golden reliquary, about 
18 centimetres high, of which you have before your eyes 
(pi. XV, i) a view. All that I wish to take note of here is 
first, that this box does in fact bear in dotted letters the 


name, and in repoussd the image, of our Kaiiishka, the one 
perfectly legible and the other a good resemblance. Now, in 
point of execution the reliquary already betrays signs of 
artistic decadence ; and this stylization is especially notable 
in the Buddha whom you see seated between two standing 
divinities on the top of the Hd. This votive document is 
sufficient, then, to carry back at least a hundred years, and 
consequently, to the i" century before our era, at the latest, 
the creation of the plastic type of the Blessed One. 


Thus, then, we are on the whole well informed as to the 
where and when, from the rencontre of the two inverse expan- 
sions, that of Hellenism towards the east consequent upon 
the political conquests of Alexander, and that of Buddhism 
towards the west by favour of the religious missions of 
Agoka, was born once for all the Indo-Greek type of 
Buddha. Our geographical and historical quest may, there- 
fore, be considered as ended. But we have as yet accom- 
plished only two-thirds of our task, and the iconographic 
question awaits almost in its entirety an elucidation. We 
have indeed from the first glance at the Museum at La- 
hore seen that, in opposition to the old native school, the 
image of Buddha is like a trade-mark of the workshops of 
Gandhara. It remains to learn ho:w it was itself manufac- 
tured. We are agreed that at the time of its composition the 
Indian material was poured into a western mould : among 
all the possible results of this operation, which one defini- 
tely emerged from the foundry? This we have still to 
analyse, at the risk of passing from one surprise to ano- 


What in fact did I tell you? Here is a creation which the 
experience of centuries and the exploration of Asia have 
taught us to regard as one of the most widespread and the 
most durable successes that the history of art has ever 
chronicled. It is proved to have been adopted with enthu- 
siasm by the entire Buddhist world ; it was, and has remain- 
ed, for the faithful the sole manner of conceiving and 
figuring the Master... And yet we cannot hide the fact that, 
if from the beginning the people must have felt the attrac- 
tive charm of its ideal and serene beauty, it must at its first 
appearance have been the object of just and bitter criticisms 
on the part of the old champions of orthodoxy. To-day 
even, if we, Buddhists or students of Buddhism, could free 
ourselves from long custom and create for ourselves new 
eyes, we should be the first to be shocked by the ambi- 
guous character of the Gandhara type of Buddha. For in 
fact, what is it that Buddhist scriptures are never tired of 
repeating? It is not we, it is tradition which poses for 
the new-born Bodhisatwa the famous dilemma : « Either 
thou wilt remain in the world and reign over the uni- 
verse; or else thou wilt enter into religion and become 
a Saviour of the world » . We all know that the second alter- 
native was the one realized. Now what do we see here 
(pi. XI,2)?/This person is not a prince, for he wears neither 
the costume nor the jewels of one; but how could one 
maintain that he is a real Buddhist monk, since his head is 
not shaven? If he were a bhikshu, he would not have retain- 
ed his hair : if he were a cakravartin, he would not have 
donned the monastic gown. A monk without tonsure or ' 
a king without jewels, decidedly these strange images, from 
whichever side one approaches them, are frankly neither 
flesh nor fish/From the artistic point of view we have 
already seen that, properly speaking, they were neither 


Greek nor Indian ; from the iconographic point of view we 
must admit that they are neither cleric nor layman, but 
still and always a hybrid combination of two heteroclite 

Shall we lean over the crucible in which the formula of 
this new compromise was elaborated, and try to reconstit- 
ute from the monuments themselves how things happen- 
ed? Let us take the princely heir of the ^akyas (pi. XV, 2) 
at the critical moment when he is realizing his religious 
vocation. The moral crisis which has just cast him out of 
the world, and, as a beginning, has made him flee by night 
from his native town, must, in fact, be translated occularly 
by a complete transformation of his exterior aspect. Now 
we read, and we see, that on the dawn of his escape, judging 
himself beyond capture, he stops and sends back horse and 
squire. At the same time he charges the latter to carry 
back to his home all his princely jewels, including the 
rich turban which encircled his long hair, gathered up in 
a chignon on the top of the crown. Thus he appears to us, 
his head bare and already in the act of changing his silken 
clothes, which are no longer suitable to his new state, for 
the coarse garment of a hunter. In all these details the figur- 
ed tradition conforms with a good grace to the written. 
There is only one point on which the Indo-Greek artists 
have shown themselves intractable. At that instant all the 
texts will have it that the Bodhisattva himself with his 
sword cut off his hair : but to this last exigency of Indian 
custom the school of Gandhara has never given its consent. 
Whether it represents the Master at the height of his 
ascetic macerations, or whether it shows him in all his 
splendour, at the moment when he has just attained to 
Illumination, his chignon continues to remain such as it 
was before his entrance into religion. When at last he 


begins to convert his first disciples, there is only the more 
striking contrast between his wavy hair and the shorn crowns 
of his bhikshus : for these latter, evidently sketched from life, 
wear the full tonsure, exactly like the bonzes of the pre- 
sent day. Accordingly, we may say that by systematically 
refusing in the case of the Blessed One to complete the 
expected transmutation of layman into monk, the Gandhara 
sculptors have not only put themselves in intended contra- 
diction to the sacred writings : they have also obstinately 
closed their eyes to the data supphed by the direct observa- 
tion of a number of their own clients. 

Visit afresh the collections, or turn over at your leisure 
the reproductions, of Greco-Buddhist bas-reliefs. The sole 
distinction between the Bodhisattva, or any other great lay 
person, and Buddha consists in this, that the latter appears 
without jewels and draped to the neck in the monastic 
gown. On the other hand, the only characteristic difference 
between the Master and the monks of his order lies in the 
privilege, which he alone enjoys, of retaining his hair. 
At this point the recipe for fabricating a Buddha after the 
mode of Gamihara presents itself spontaneously to you 
(pi . XVI, I VYou take the body of a monk, and surmount it 
with the head of a king (or what in India comes to the same 
thing, a god), after having first stripped it of turban and 
earrings. These are the two necessary and sufficing ingre- 
dients of this curious synthesis; and you divine immediately 
the advantages of this procedure. Were it not for the head, 
confusion with any other monk would be almost inevitable : 
and this simple consideration may help to explain why the 
ancient native school abstained from representing the 
disciples as well as the Master ('). On the other hand, were 

(i) See above, p. 76. 


it not for the monastic cloak, you might be a little puzzled 
to distinguish the Perfect Buddha from the future Buddha, 
whenever the second is shown without a headdress, or 
even when the lips of the former continue to wear that 
little moustache which you still find on the remote Japan- 
ese images. But join together the two elements, however 
incongruous, a layman's head on the body of a cleric : and 
this combination will at once give you an individuality suf- 
ficiently marked to answer all the practical needs of icono- 
graphv/*rhe result has shown it well. 

But, however complex the Indo-Greek type of Buddha 
may be, you doubtless consider that we have examined 
and dissected it more than sufficiently for to-day; and you 
tremble to perceive the endless conclusions which we 
might at once draw from this analysis, however superficial 
and summary. First of all, it would be sufficient to prove, 
even if history did not so state, that this type was created 
as an afterthought and, let us say, de chic, by strangers more ' 
artists than theologians, more soHcitous for esthetics 
than for orthodoxy. I would go further : Not only at the 
moment of its conception had the face of the Master long 
been blurred in the mists of the past, and all precise icono- 
graphic data concerning him been lost; but among the 
vapours of incense which the worship of posterity caused 
to mount towards his memory, while waiting for the latter 
to be materialized in his image, he had already assumed 
a superhuman and, as is written, a « supernatural)) Qokot- 
tara) character. At least, we could scarcely otherwise 
explain the success of that stroke of audacity whereby the 
school of Gandhara assigned to him from the beginning a 
special physionomy, derived from, and at the same time 
remaining at an equal distance from, that of a monk and 


that of a god. It results, further, that this type issues from 
the fusion of a double ideal, that of the Greek Olympian 
and that of the Mahdpurusha, or Indian « Great Man », with 
no borrowing from living reality, if we except the detail 
of the distended lobe of the ears. And this would to 
some extent excuse the defect that many of these images 
are not exempt from some academic frigidity. Finally, we 
comprehend the reason for the retouches which later gener- 
ations thought it necessary to apply, notably as concerns 
the hair. We can even see in how mechanical a manner 
through uniformly covering bandeau and chignon with the 
short traditional curls, their want of skill has suddenly 
caused to stand out on the top of the crown the boss called 

ushnisha, a word which formerly meant only headdress 

And this is not yet all : what should I not have to tell 
you concerning the diffusion in India and the Far East of 
the idolatrous worship of Buddha, parallel to that of the 
images ! But reassure yourselves : sufficient for each hour 
its subject, and I will not further abuse your patience. 
Moreover, as we remarked at the beginning, nothing is 
easier than to see how much better preserved — or, if you 
prefer, less deformed — at all times and in all places was 
the face of the Blessed One than his doctrine. I shall 
not, therefore, insist to-day on the conquest of upper 
and lower Asia by this irresistible propagator of the Indo- 
Greek school of Gandhara. But you would not forgive me, 
if I did not show in conclusion how this Buddhist school 
finds itself by its origins in contact with our Christian art. 
A.ook at these two statues (pi. XVI, 2); the one represents 
/Christ, and the other Buddha. The one was taken from a 
sarcophagus from Asia Minor, and is to-day to be found in 
Berlin; the other comes from a ruined temple in Gandhara, 
and is at present in Lahore. Bo^h, with the pose of the right 


arm similarly draped in their mantles, are direct descen- 
dants of a common ancestor, the beautiful Greek statue of 
the Lateran Museum, called the Orator, in which we have 
long recognized a Sophocles. It is not to be doubted that, 
plastically speaking, they are cousins-german. The one is a 
Greco-Christian Christ; the other is a Greco-Buddhist 
Buddha. Both are, by the same right, a legacy left in extre- 
mis to the old world by the expiring Greek arty^ 

After this last experience it will, doubtless, seem to you 
proved that this figure of Buddha, which, smiHng at us 
from the depths of the Far East, represents for us the cul- 
mination of what is exotic, nevertheless came originally 
from a Hellenistic studio. Such, at least, is the truth to-day 
— I mean the conclusion arising from the documents at 
present known — and such, at the point at which archaeo- 
logical researches have arrived, will probably be the truth 
to-morrow. Must we be glad or sorry for this ? Facts are 
facts, and the wisest thing is to take them as they come. It 
was recently still the custom to triumph noisily over the 
artistic inferiority of the Indians, reduced to accepting 
ready made from the hands of others the concrete realiza- 
tion of their own religious ideal. At present, owing to aesthe- 
tic bias or to nationalist rancour, it is the fashion to make 
the school of Gandhara pay for its manifest superiority by 
a systematic blackening of its noblest production. We for 
our part refuse in this connection to share either the unjusti- 
fiable contempt of the old criticism for native inspiration, 
or the ill-disguised spite of the new against the foreign 
make. It is not the father or the mother who has formed 
the child ; it is the father and the mother. The Indian mind 
has taken a part no less essential than has Greek genius in 
the elaboration of the model of the Monk-God. It is a case 
where the East and the West could have done nothing 


without each other. It would be childish to associate our- 
selves, in a partizan spirit and turnabout, with the exaltation 
or the contempt, whether of Europe or of Asia, when so 
fine an opportunity offers for saluting in the Eurasian pro- 
totype of Buddha one of the most sublime creations where- 
with their collaboration has enriched humanity. 

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I. An engraving botro'wei from Sur la frontiire indo-afghane (Paris, 
Hachette et C'=, 1901, fig. 11 ; cf. Tour du monde, Nov. 1899, p. 543) ; 
executed from the author's photographs. On the left, beyond the 
ploughed land, is seen the village of Shihbiz-Garhi. In the background 
rises the hill of Mekha-Sandha, once sanctified by the legend of prince 
Vi^vantara (cf. ibid., p. 55 ; Notes sur la giogrdphie ancienne du Gan- 
dhdra, in 5. £. F. E.-O., I, 1901, pp. 347-59; and above, p. 123). 
Q.aite to the right stands the rugged hill-side, on which is still to be 
found the inscription of A^oka (cf. p. 121). 

II. A photograph taken by the Archaeological Survey and placed at 
our disposal by Dr. J. Ph. Vogel (cf. p. 124). In the foreground we 
see the central spur, on which stands the principal monastery : the 
view extends towards the north-east above the hills of the little range of 
Takht-i-Bahai as far as the Sw4t mountains. For other views of the 
same site cf. Sur la frontiere indo-afghane, fig. 14, or Tour du monde, 
ibid , p. 545, and Art g.-b. du Gandh , figg. i and 63-4 (with plan 
and description of the buildings, pp. 160-163). 






Cf. p. 124. 

I. — AnengTzvinghorro-wedfvomSur lafrontiireindo-afghane, fig. 15 , 
(or Tour du monde, Nov. 1899, p. 544) ; after a photograph taken by the 
author. The eminence, increased in height by the slow accumulation 
of the dust of the past, is still surrounded by a magnificent wall, now 
buried in the earth. The people of the country continue to maintain a 
connection between the village and the hill of Takht-i-Bahai, situated 
at a distance of less than a league to the north, which would represent 
respectively the capital and the « throne » of one and the same rijah 
(cf. p. 124). 

II. — An Archasological Survey photograh, communicated by Dr. J. 
Ph. VoGEL, representing a corner of the recent excavations of Dr. D. B. 
Spooner in one of the neighbouring tumuli of Sahri-Bahlol(cf. p. 124). 
These excavations have been described by their author in the Archxolog- 
ical Survey of India, Annual Report, i^o6'j, pp. 102 -118. For previous 
explorations of the same district see H. W. Bellew, General Report on 
the Euxuf^^ai (Lahore, 1864) and Punjab G.tielteer, Peshawar District 
(1897-1898), pp. 46 sqq. ; for the more modern researches (1912) of 
Sir Aurel Stein see, on the other iund, Annual Report of the Archseolog - 
ical Survey of India, Frontier Circle, 1911-12 (Peshawar, 1912, with 





Cf. pp. 126-129. 

I . — An e ngraving borrowed from Sur la frontUre indo-afghane, fig. 40, 
(or Tour du Monde, nov. 1899, p. 556). The identification of this tumu- 
lus with the « Pagoda of Kanishka » (cf. above, p. 129) was first devel- 
oped in our Notes sur la geographie ancienne du Gandhdra {B. £. F. 
£.-0., I, 1901, pp. 329-333, with maps). Of the excavations by which 
it was verified an account has been given by Dr. D. B. Spooner in Ar- 
chxological Survey of India, Annual Report, 1908-9, pp- 38-59. 

II. — The four coins reproduced are borrowed from the Catalogue of 
Indian Coins in the British Museum, The Coins of the Greek and Scythic 
Kings of Bactria and India, by Percy Gardner (London, 1886), pll. IV, 
I ; II, 9 ; XI, 7 ; XXVI, 8 : a. Head of « Alexander, son of Phihp », 
wearing a lion's skin, like Heracles; on the reverse, mention of the 
« reigning king, Agathokles the just », inscribed round a Zeus seated 
on a throne with a back, holding in his raised left hand the long sceptre 
and on his extended right hand the eagle (cf. p. 126). — b. Head of a 
king, wearing a diadem and a helmet in the form of an elephant's 
head; on the reverse, mention of « King Demetrios », inscribed on 
both sides of a standing Heracles, bearing in his left hand the club and 
the lion's skin and with the right hand crowning himself with an ivy- 
wreath (cf. p. 126). — c. Diademed head of the « Saviour King 
Menander » ; on the reverse, Pallas Athene, bearing the aegis and hurl- 
ing the thunderbolt : round her the same inscription, but this time 
in the Indian alphabet and language of the north-west (cf. p. 127). — 
d. Full-length portrait of the« Shah of Shahs, Kanishka the Kushan »; 
spear in the left hand, the right extended above a pyre ; on the reverse, 
a standing Buddha, having an aureole and a nimbus (cf. p. 128). 






Cf. pp. 129-132. 

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Cf. pp. 133-136. 

I. —The type of Bodhisattva and that of Buddha are borrowed from 
a frieze in the museum of the Louvre (cf Art g.-b.du Gandh., fig. 134) ; 
ih.tofthe monk from a bas-relief in the British Museum. For the 
reason of their being placed together cf. pp. 133-134. 

II. — The image of Christ is reproduced from a plate in Professor 
SxRzrGowsKi's Orient oder Rom ; let us not omit to confess that it has 
been art fi:ially isolated from the rest of the sarcophagus. In contrast 
to its slender figure the image of Buddha (no. 527 of the Lahore 
Museum; height m. 0,60) is noticeably squat. The gesture of the 
left arm we shall find again in the Buddha of this same plate XVI, i, 
and in ihe sixth of the seven which are ranged on the base of plate 
XXVI, I . For comparison the Sophocles of the Lateran museum may 
be found reproduced in most manuals of classical archaeology. (Cf. 
pp. 135-136). 





*^#*?)'"5»» l^ifWWWfB 


The Tutelary Pair 
in Gaul and in India (') 

When turning over the leaves of the monumental and 
valuable Recueil des bas-reliefs, statues et busies de la Gaule 
romaine of M. Esp^randieu, we see again and again a 
figure usually entitled « Abundance » or « Goddess Mo- 
ther ». Rare in Provence, where apparently it is better con- 
cealed under the purely classical features of Demeter and 
Fortune, it shows itself from time to time in Aquitaine 
with an appearance already more indigenous ; then multi- 
plying itself, it passes into « Lyonnaise », where we have 
counted it no less than forty times (vols. III-IV) : the se- 
quel of the publication will tell us whether it enjoyed the 
same favour in Belgian Gaul. Its most usual type, very 
close to that of the pullulant Matres, holds in the left hand 
a horn of abundance, and in the right a patera. In no. 
3225 (Langres) we see moreover on either side of the god- 
dess two little genii, one of whom « dips into a purse plac- 
ed between her feet ». If it is not she, then it is one of her 
sisters, who elsewhere is represented with a child in her 
arms, like aMadonna(nos. 1326-1334, Saintes), orwith a 
sack on her knees, from which drop coins (no. 1367, 
Ruffec). At times fruits are also placed actually on the lap 
of the goddess (nos. 2350, Mont Auxois ; 3237, Langres). 
Lastly,the patera is occasionally replaced by acake (nos. 1528, 

(i) Revue archdokgique, 1912, II, pp. 341-9' 


Bourges), or, in the more debased pieces, by a goblet of 
the special form called an o//a (nos. 1161, Puy-de-D6me; 
21 12, Beaune). These last attributes seem to be only 
borrowings from another Gallic divinity, or rather two 
others who are masculine and likewise of frequent occur- 
ence. Their usual attributes are the olla and the purse, 
often difficuh to distinguish from one another ; but local 
and barbarous variants represent them as holding Hkewise 
the cake and the sack of money (no. 1555, La Guerche, 
Cher), or even a child (no. 2882, Auxerre), when they do 
not in their turn borrow the patera full of fruits (no. 2263, 
Entrains) or the horn of abundance (nos. 2 1 62, Macon ; 2 1 66, 
Chalon-sur-Saone). One of the types is bearded like Jupiter, 
whose long sceptre it replaces, as we know, by the handle 
of a mallet. The other, beardless, most often hides his per- 
sonality under the figure of Mercury. The intimate rela- 
tionship of both with the goddess, or goddesses, of 
« Abundance » is certain : for a proof we require only the 
numerous groups in which they appear in company, stand- 
ing on the same stele or seated side by side on the same 
seat. Some represent the god without a beard, and indi- 
cate clearly — from the wings on his feet up to the peta- 
sus, taking the caduceus en route — his assimilation to 
Mercury (nos. 1800, Fleurieu-sur-Saone ; 1836, Autun), or 
give him the appearance of a « local Mars » (no. 1832, 
Autun). The majority resort to the model of the bearded 
god with a mallet (nos. 2066, Nuits; 3441, Dijon etc.). 
Often they assign to the husband, as mark of office, the 
same horn of abundance as to his companion, unless they 
lend to the latter the purse (no. 3382, Chatillon-sur-Seine), 
or make both place their hands on the same olla (no. 21 18, 
Beaune). In one case a child is playing at their feet 
(no. 1830, Autun). For the necessities of our case we will 


restrict ourselves to borrowing from M. Esp^randieu's col- 
lection an almost complete specimen of each of the two 
principal variants of the subject (pi. XVII, i and 2) ('). 

No one expects from an Indianist that he shall under- 
take more closely to identify Gallo-Roman divinities or even 
to distinguish very carefully between them ; but perhaps 
he may be allowed to point out the existence, on the oppo- 
site confines of the world known to the ancients, of per- 
fectly analogous figures and even groups (pi. XVIII, i and 
2). As far as one can judge of the popularity of gods by 
the always fortuitous result of excavations, this divine pair 
was in Gandhara no less in vogue than in Lyonnaise ; but 
there we possess more precise information concerning 
it. The Buddhist community showed itself more recep- 
tive to popular superstitions than the Christian clergy. It 
assigned a place in its convents, and dedicated passages of 
its scriptures, to this conjugal association of the fairy with 
the children and the genius with the purse : for, after all, 
they are only demi-gods of fairly low extraction, created 
for the use of the middle classes, and on a level with them. In 
the man it has long been proposed to recognise Kuvera, 
the « King of the Spirits » (*) ; but the texts merely desi- 
gnate him as their « general » , by his name Pancika, and it 
is in virtue of this title that he is nearly always leaning upon 
a lance. These Yakshas of India, like the dwarfs of our 
mythologies, are essentially guardians of treasures; and 
doubtless this is how Pancika must have commenced 

(i) In addition to the specimens represented or quoted in the texts, see 
also nos. 1564, 1573, 1828, 1837, 1849, 2129, 2249,2252-2253, 2255-2256, 
2271, 2313, 2334, 2353, 2878-2881, 2911, etc. It seems that the same two 
gods are again found in the company of the same goddess on the « triades » 
of nos. 21 31 (Autnn) and 2357 (Asile-Sainte-Reine). 

(2) Cf. Dr. J. Ph. VoGEL, Note sur une statue du Gandhara, in B. E. F. 
E.-O., Ill, 1903. 


his career; but the « purse of gold », which he holds in 
his right hand, would sufficiently prove, even if we were 
not expressly told, that he had already transformed him- 
self from a jealous gaoler into a generous dispenser of 
riches. Whilst the miserly demon was thus changing into a 
liberal geniu"^, his wife Hariti was undergoing a parallel 
evolution, and from an ogress was becoming a matron. 
Originally she personified some terrible infantile epidemic; 
and, although herself a mother of five hundred little 
elves, she found her food in the children of men; but 
when she is depicted for us by religious art, she is suppos- 
ed to have been already converted by Buddha, and her sole 
function is to accord to the vows of the faithful a numerous 
progeny. If we care to translate the myth into Greco- 
Roman terms. Lamia was metamorphosed into Lucina. 
Most often she is represented as holding on her knees, or 
even suckHng, her last-born, which has caused her to be 
called the Buddhist Madonna Q, whilst numbers of 
her sons frolic around her or, chmbing about her person, 
make her look Hke an Italian allegory of Charity. The 
authors of pi. XVIII, i and 2 have expressed the traditional 
conception of the fruitful and fructifying Hariti in a man- 
ner more sober than usual, being content with putting a 
cornucopia into her left hand. They forget only one point, 
namely that according to Indian ideas a horn or any other 
remnant of a dead animal (except the black antilope) is an 
unclean thing, and that only people of the currier caste, 
the least fastidious and the most despised of men, can touch 
such an object. For us Europeans, who are not disturbed 
by such refinements of delicacy, this attribute, far from 
shocking, only awakens in the delighted mind ideas of fer- 

(i) Cf. infra, the last essay. 


tile maturity and maternal prosperity. This is, indeed, how 
the Indo-Greek sculptors understood it, and the mere 
choice of this symbol would be sufficient to prove that 
they were more Greek than Indian : but the meaning of 
these abridged versions remains evidently the same as that 
of the more ornate repHcas, which encumber with urchins 
the pedestal, the knees, and even the shoulders of these 
same persons (cf. pi. XLVIII, i). The mere sight of the 
god leaning lovingly on the arm or the shoulder of his 
companion, and the latter not fearing to caress his knee in 
public, leaves us in no doubt that popular imagination and 
cult have in fact united in matrimony the genius who dis- 
penses riches and the fairy who grants posterity. 

We should be willing to believe that the Gallic groups, 
like their Indian prototypes, must practically answer to the 
same eternal desires of humanity for offspring and for mo- 
ney — although our modern civilization seems to detach 
itself from the one to the advantage of the other. As far 
as the god is concerned, whether it be a question of the 
Gallic Mercury, who, we are told by Caesar, controlled the 
gains of commercial transactions, or of that Dis Pater, who 
seems to be the native double of Plutus, as well as of Pluto, 
the purse which he holds in his hand is in all languages an 
expressive emblem : and as for the goddess, by whatever 
name she may be called, Rosmerta, Maia, Tutela, Nanto- 
svelta, or simply BonaDea, her horn of abundance signifies 
fecundity. According to all appearance, whilst her husband 
was more particularly destined to fulfil the aspirations of 
the men, her task was to satisfy those of the women ; and 
thus in Gaul, as in India, both sexes must have found satis- 
faction in the worship of this divine pair. Besides, it is suf- 
ficient or four purpose that their tutelary character should 
be incontestable. What chiefly interests us is the analogy 


between the procedures followed by the artists of such 
distant countries, in order to picture before our eyes ideas 
on the whole analogous. 

Between the two groups reproduced in our plates the 
only contrast at all striking consists in the respectively 
inverse positions of the two spouses. But, inverted as it is, 
it retains the same intention of reserving for the goddess 
the place of honour in relation to the man — that being ac- 
cording to the old Indian custom on the left, and not on the 
right as with us ('). The stool placed beneath the left foot 
of the persons in pi. XVII, i is lacking in pi. XVIII, landa; 
but it exists on other replicas, and, besides, the group of 
pi. XVII, 2 dispenses with it likewise. The scaly decoration 
of the pedestal of pi. XVIII, i, made of coins half covering 
each other, is only a paraphase of the signification of the 
purse. The double seats on pi. XVIII allow a sight of their 
four feet, turned on the lathe in the Indian manner : but, on 
the other hand, the nimbus which emphasizes the divine 
character of the pair is perfectly familiar to our western 
eyes. Then, beside these small local diflFerences, what re- 
semblances are to be observed ! If we leave aside the leg- 
gings and the large earrings of the Indian genius, his cos- 
tume even, consisting of a tunic and a cloak, is not so very 
different from that usually worn by his Gallo-Roman equi- 

(i) For other conjugal pairs thus placed cf. Art greco-houddhique du Gan- 
dhara, figg. 160-162. A curious fact to be noticed is that two Gallo-Roman 
groups, to be classed among those which have best retained the accent of 
their birthplace, also place the goddess on the left of the god; they are 
nos. 1 3 19 (Saintes) in which the god with the purse is crouched down « a 
I'indienne » near the goddess with the horn of abundance, who is seated 
in the European manner, and 2334 (Auxois). We may ask ourselves if the 
custom of the Gauls was not the same as that of the Indians on this point, 
exactly as we know that it was the common custom of the two nations to 
count past time by nights and not by days, etc, 


valents. To the mallet of the one corresponds well enough 
the long sceptre of the other, with its end rounded in the 
form of a mace (pi. XVIII, i). As for the beardless god of 
pi. XVII, 2, he, we are told, « holds in his left hand a lance, 
and in the other an object scarcely recognizable, perhaps 
a purse » : these are precisely the insignia of the correspond- 
ing person in pi. XVIII, 2. Last but not least, the women 
have the same pose, the same attributes, the same drape- 
ries, even the same headdress in the form of a (c bushell », 
or « basket » : between them a quasi-identity asserts itself, 
and there would be no exaggeration in saying that, from 
the banks of the Indus to those of the Seine, it would have 
cheated even the eyes of the donors. 

Such is the testimony of the monuments. What does it 
prove ? Let us hasten to say, nothing very new : for certainly 
no one will venture to imagine direct influences between 
Gaul and India. Moreover, the connection, as far at least as 
the goddess is concerned, is already established in the 
memory of instructed readers by a number of intermediary 
figures : at need it would soon be discovered among those 
tiny mercantile and travelling folk, the Mediterranean terra- 
cottas. We shall be excused for holding in this case also to 
prudent generalities and confining ourselves to the intro- 
duction of our Indian repHcas into the discussion. If it were 
not sufficient to indicate this new fact, and if we ought fur- 
ther to essay an interpretation of it, that which we should 
propose is a very simple one. It has long been ascertained 
that the art of Gandhara borrowed its technique from Hel- 
lenistic art : it is impossible then that it should not have 
features in common with Greco-Roman, and consequently 
with the Gallo-Roman art. This kind of relationship, how- 
ever distant the degree may be, is justified principally, in 
archaeology as well as in linguistics, by the same construe- 


tion of the forms and the employment of the same gram- 
mar, verbal or decorative: and in this particular case no 
speciaHst could turn over the leaves of M. Esp^randieu's 
collection without noticing, in support of the cousinship 
of these distant schools, a number of details of composition 
and the constant return of the same ornamental subjects, 
amorini, griffons or tritons, garlands, acanthuses orflowers. 
But, after all, nothing is more striking and more persuasive 
for the public than a comparison bearing on vocabu- 
lary, especially if it is a question of a common significant 
word. This is just the kind of contribution that we 
believed we could supply here by noting the suggestive 
correspondence of the oriental and occidental expres- 
sions of the same ideas, or, better, of the same religious 
needs. In truth, these works, however complex they may 
be, only transcribe quite rudimentary notions; but notions 
only the more deeply grounded in human nature. Such 
as they are, these groups — which, besides, are nearly 
contemporaneous — seem to us to furnishfor the moment 
one of the most palpable verifications of the factthatin the 
first centuries of our era the sculptors of the Gauls and 
those of Ariana had each learned at the school of the Greeks, 
and spoke from one end of the ancient world to the other 
the same common language, the same artistic « koin^ ». 


Cf. pp. 141-145. 

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The Great Miracle at Qravasti (0. 


The narratives of the death of Buddha assert that after 
his cremation eight kings or ruUng clans shared his ashes, 
and that they deposited their several portions under as many 
stupas. We see no reason for disbelieving tradition on this 
point : the important thing is not at times to confuse these 
first eight sanctuaries with the historical « eight grand 
caityas » ("). We know, indeed, for certain that eight towns 
of Madhyadeca had finally divided among themselves, not 
the relics, but the legend, of Buddha. In their immediate 
neighbourhood were eight specially holy places, supposed 
to preserve the vestiges of the eight principal miracles 
of the Master. This implies that they formed as many 
centres of attraction for pilgrims, the organized exploitation 
of whom — one of the few industries which still survive 
in India — must have constituted an appreciable source of 
income. It may easily be imagined that the definite choice 
of scenes and sites was not accomplished without rivalries 

{i) Journal asialique, Jan. -Feb. 1909. 

(2) That there is no lack of opportunity for these confusions we find 
proved at once in Une poesie hconnue du roi Harsa QilMUya, restored from 
Chinese transcription by M. S, Levi {Ades du X" Congres int. des Orient., 
1894, I, p. 188, Leiden, 1895) and entitled « Hymn to the Eight Great 
Caityas », which enumerates still more. The « eight reliquaries » of stanza 5, 
followed by the stupas of the « urn » and the « ashes », are evidently the 8 -\- 
2 stupas of the Mahdparinibbdna- sutta, VL 62, and have nothing to do with the 
« eight great caityas » of the title. 



and hesitations. At least four cities, indeed, received from the 
first an undisputed recognition. A relatively ancient text, the 
Mahdparinibbdnasutta, already recommends the pilgrimages 
to the four sacred places of the Birth, the Illumination, the 
First Preaching, and the Death, of Buddha (')■ On the 
square bases of the little stupas of Gandhara and the stelae of 
Amaravati these four scenes are invariably associated (pU. II- 
IV) : only we must draw attention to the fact that in the 
latter case Kapilavastu is usually represented not by the 
nativity of the child Buddha, but by what might be called 
his birth into the spiritual life, we mean his « abandonment 
of home » Q) . However, neither the cities of Gaya and 
Benares, nor certainly the obscure frontier market towns of 
Kapilavastu and Kucinagara could pretend to monopolize 
between them the Buddhist legend and the advantages 
accruing therefrom. Through the disconnected accounts of 

(i)V, 16-22; iht Jati, the Abhisambodhi, the Dharmacakrapravartana, and 
the Parinirvana are similarly associated in the Divydvaddna, ed. Cowell 
and Neil, p. 244 and p 397, 1. 18. 

(2) For the little stupas of the north-west, cf. Art greco-bouddhique du 
Gandhara, fig. 208. For the stels of Amaravati see J. Burgess, The Buddhist 
Stupas of Amaravati and Jaggayyapeta, pll. XVI, 4; XXXII, 4; XXXVIII, 5 ; 
XLI, 6 (with the departure on horseback; cf. J. Fergdsson, Tree and 
Serpent-Worship, pi. LXXV on the right), and pi. XVI, 3 (with the farewell 
to Chandaka; cf. Fergdsson, ibid., pi. LXXV, to the left). On all those 
stelse which are complete the Parinirvdria is constantly symbolized by a 
simple stupa.'With these one may connect others, in which the Abhisarnbodhi 
and the Dharmacakrapravartana are figured by an empty throne under a tree 
or a wheel (Bdrgess, ibid., pll. XXXVIII, 3 and 6 ; XLV, 2 and 4; XLVI, 
1-3 ; XLVII, 3 ; XLVIII, i ; Fergdsson, ibid., pll. XCIII; XCIV, i, 4). The 
most curious of this kind are those which shrink from representing not only 
the Buddha, but even the Bodhisattva, and wherein the Mahdbhinishkramana 
is no longer represented, except by a horse without a rider (Fergdsson, 
ibid., pll. XCIII, to the left ; XCVI, 3 and XCVIII, 2). It will be observed 
.besides that on several stein; of Benares (^Anc. Mon. Ind., pi. 67, 2 and 
68, i) the Mahdbhinishkramana is associated with the Jdti in the same 


the documents we seem to catch the play of the two domi- 
nant forces which brought the number of the great pilgrim- 
ages up to the sacred figure of eight. Sometimes the pre- 
ponderant element seems to be the prestige which a certain 
miracle had very early acquired in the popular imagination. 
Thus we see the « descent from heaven » separate itself 
very early from the crowd of traditional marvels ; but its 
localization continues fluctuating, at least if we keep to 
the letter of the texts (*). On the other hand, the ancient 
capital ofMagadha, Rajagriha, and the wealthy free town of 
Vaifali easily, by reason of their preeminent role in the Bud- 
dhist scriptures , eclipsed the titles of Kaucambi or Mathura : 
there is, however, no consensus of testimony as to which 
among all the edifying scenes which had there come to 
pass it was right more particularly to commemorate. At 
Cravasti even, where the interest is at once concentrated 
upon the Jetavana, the Master's favourite sojourn, unanim- 
ity of choice does not fall, as might have been expected, on 
the a great miracle », the triumph whereby its immediate 
environs had been rendered famous Q. In the face of the 

(i) It is known that the Divydvaddna and Fa-hien localize the Devdvatdra 
at Sankagya, Hiuan-tsang at Kapitha and Fa-t'ien (cf. S. Levi^ loc. cit., p. 190) 
at Kanyikubja; the Mahdvyutpatti (§ 193) and Wou-k'ong (trans. S. Levi 
and Ed. Chavannes, Journal A siatique, sept-oct. 1895, p. 358) do not give 
definitely the place of this « Descent » of Buddha. 

(2) The Mahdprdtihdrya is indeed mentioned by the text of Harsha and 
placed, somewhat incorrectly, by Fa-t'ien in the Jetavana of ^ravasti (the 
Divydvaddna [pp. 151 and 155, 11. 12-14 and 17-18] specifies, in fact, that the 
theatre of the scene was situated between the town and the park) ; but 
Wou-k'ong associates with the Jetavana the preaching of the Mahdpmjmpd- 
ramitd-sutra. In the same way, at Rijagriha, in direct antithesis to the vague 
« teachings » of Fa-t'ien, he places the preaching of the Saddharmapundarika 
on the neighbouring hill of the Gridhrakuta. At Vai^ili both agree to call by 
different names the touching episode of the rejection of life {dyur° or dyuh- 
samskdra-utsarjana), which supervened three months before the Parinirvdna. 
But we shall see that, guided by considerations of a pictorial and technical 


capricious divergencies of the texts the concordant precis- 
ion of the figured monuments has fortunately permitted 
us to make out the list, and to sketch the traditional scheme, 
of the four supplementary great scenes, the miracle of Qra- 
vasti, the descent from heaven at Sankacya, the monkey's 
oifering at Vai^ali, the subjugation of the savage elephant 
at RajagrihaQ. It is true that, in order definitely to fix this 
scheme, we have availed ourselves chiefly of miniatures 
in Nepalese and Bengali manuscripts of rather late date 
(Xl"'-XIir'' centuries). At the most we had been able to 
compare with them only a few carved slabs, which came 
from the scene of the « first preaching)), at Sarnath,in the 
northern suburb of Benares, and which date back approxi- 
mately to the V*'' century of our era. Unfortunately^ these 
slabs were quite incomplete : we may be permitted, there- 
fore, to emphasize the interest of the recent discovery at 
the same place of a stele in fairly good condition, divided 
into eight panels and consecrated precisely to the eight great 
scenes (pi. XIX, i). Let us say at once that seven of these 
bas-reUefs only confirm what we already knew of the sub- 
jects which they represent and the conventional manner of 
treating them. Besides, Mr. J. H. Marshall has completely 
identified them. He has no hesitation, except as regards 
one single scene, « of which the identification )), he says, 
« is doubtful, but which appears to have taken place at ^ra- 
vasti )) Q. And it is, in fact, concerning the traditional 

order, the artists made from the mass of the traditional accoums a quite 
different choice from the men of letters. 

(i) See Et. sur Vlconogr. bouddh. de I'Inde, I (1900, pp. 162-170), sum- 
marized, corrected and completed, ibid., II (1905), pp. 113-114. 

(2) See Mr. Marshall's (article in /. R. A. S. 1907, pp. 999-1000, and 
pi. IV, i). We take pleasure in here thanking the very distinguished Direc- 
tor-General of Archxiology, India, for his extreme kindness in putting at 


manner of representing the « Great miracle » of gravasti 
that this new document will furnish us with useful evi- 


The canonical importance of the mahd-prdtihdrya of ^ra- 
vasti is incontestable. The Divydvaddna gives it expressly 
as one of the ten acts of which every perfect Buddha must 
necessarily acquit himself before dying ('). It is likewise 
in this text —that is to say, as MM. S. Levi and Ed. Huber 
have shown, in the Vinaya of the Mula-Sarvastivadins — 
that we find the most ancient and most detailed account 
of the miracles whereby on this occasion Qakyamuni 
triumphed over his rivals, the six chiefs of sects. Thanks to 
the translation of Burnouf, this account is too well known 
to need citation here (*). We shall restrict ourselves to 
bringing out the essential points. After having wrought a 
few minor miracles, which were mere preliminary trifles, 
and refusing to allow anyone, monk or layman, man or 

our disposal a photograph of the stele in question and authorizing its 

(i) Divydvaddna, pp, 150 151 ; no Buddha of the past has failed in it ibid., 
p. 147, 11. 24-27); according to the Tibetan testimonies the Buddha of our 
age accomplished it in the sixteenth year of his ministry (Rockhill, Life of 
the Buddha, p. 79). 

(2) Divydddna, XII and Bdrnouf, Introduction a I'hist. du Bouddh. indien, 
pp. 162 sqq. The XIII"» story of the Avaddnakalpalatd, deplorably edited 
indeed in the Bibl. Indica, V, 1895 (see, below, p. 174, n. 5), adds, in accor- 
dance "with the usual custom of Kshemendra, nothing but poetic graces ; 
RoCKmL(^Life of the Buddha, pp. 79-80, following the Dulva) and Schiefner 
(^Eine tihet. Lebensbeschr . Qdkyamuni's, p. 293) restrict themselves to a refer- 
ence to BuRNOUF. For the connections of these various authors with the 
tradition of the Mfila-Sarvistivyins see also the very clear conclusions of 
Prof. S. Levi, Journal Asiatique, July-August 1908, pp. 102 and 104. 


woman, to be substituted for him, so as to confuse the 
Tirthyas by the exhibition of a supernatural power, the 
Blessed One accomplishes successively, on the direct and 
twice repeated invitation of king Prasenajit, two kinds of 
miracles. At first he displays what in technical terms is 
called the yamaka-prdtihdrya, which consists in walking the 
air in various attitudes, while emitting alternately flames 
and waves from the upper and lower parts of his body ; in 
the second place, multiplying images of himself up to 
heaven and in all directions, he preaches his law. A violent 
storm, raised by a chief of the genii, completes the over- 
throw of the heterodox. An immense multitude is convert- 
ed to the good law. 

If now after the Sanskrit version we consult the Pali tra- 
dition, we find that the mahd-prddhdrya of ^ravasti is there 
usually designated « the miracle at the foot of the mango- 
tree ». The Mahdvamsa and the commentary of the Jdtaka, 
for example, give it no other name. According to the 
latter, as also according to the Singhalese and the Bur- 
mese (') accounts, Buddha did, in fact, begin by accom- 
pUshing the magical operation which the jugglers of India 
are always endeavouring to imitate : from the stone of a 
mango planted in the ground he is supposed to have forth- 
with grown an enormous tree, covered at once with flowers 
and fruits. But then this is merely a simple extra, scarcely 
even a curtain-raiser. When the great day has come, the 
divinities assemble, and the introduction to Jdtaka no. 483 

(i) Cf. Mahavamsa, ed. Turnodr, pp. 107, 181, 191 ; ed. Geiger, pp. 137, 
241, 2S4; Jdtaka, ed. Fausb0ll, I, p. 77, 1. 23 ; 88, 1. 20, etc.; ambamule, or 
gandamba-mtile, is written ; Ganda has become in the commentary of the 
Jdtaka, no. 483, and Gandamba in Sp. Hardy (Manual of Buddhism, i^' ed. 
pp. 295-296), the name of the gardener who suppHed the mango : see also 
BiGANDET, Life of Gaudama, Rangoon, 1866, p. 205. 


tells US in a single sentence that « The Master, having accom- 
plished the yamaka-pdtibdnya, and having recognized the 
believing dispositions of a great number of people, redes- 
cended, and, seated on his Buddha seat, taught the law » ('). 
If we analyse this brief r^sum^ of the scene, it is not difficult 
to recognize in it, exactly as in the overelaborate version 
of the Divydvaddna, the distinct and successive enunciation 
of the same two moments, that of the « pair of miracles » 
and that of the preaching. 

Of these two manifestations the first strikes one imme- 
diately as the more original and the more picturesque : 
one would have wagered that it must have thrust itself on 
the choice of the artists whose duty it was to decorate the 
Buddhist monuments with edifying scenes, or to compose 
pious ex-votos for the use of the laity. As a matter of fact, 
we have found in the ancient school of Gandhara at least 
one indubitable representation of the « twin miracles » ; 
and even at the present moment the special attribution of 
this bas-relief to the mahd-prdtihdrya of ^ravasti seems to 
us not in the least untenable, on the sole condition that we 
mark well its exceptional character Q). It was, besides, the 
accidental circumstance of this find that prevented our car- 
rying still further our researches on this point. Nevertheless , 
as we had already observed, it was the scene of the manifold 

(i) See JAtaka, IV, p. 265, 11, 13-14 ; the English translation (IV, p. 168, 
1. 1 3) of oruyha=avaruyha by « then arose » seems to us to be a lapsus calami, 
going directly against the meaning. It will be noticed that the Pali, like the 
Mah&vastu, makes use of the technical term oi yamaka-p°; Bigandet, be. cH., 
p. 207, gives us a very clear description of it (perhaps even two descrip- 
tions, cf. below, p. 157); it is also easily recognized through the tejo° and 
apokasina-samdpatti o( Sp. Hardy, he. cit., p. 297. 

(2) See Art g.-b. du Gandh., pp. 516 and 535, and fig. 26^(=:Anc.Mon. 
India, pi. 115, 5), where we give the reasons which led us us to prefer this 
identification to the equally possible one of « the arrival at Kapilavastu ». 


preaching of the Master that later, if we may judge from 
the miniatures of the manuscripts, inspired the traditional 
image of the « great miracle » : at least, they represent it 
regularly by three Buddhas teaching, seated side by side 
upon as many lotuses ('). Now the stele recently exhumed 
from the ground of the ancient Mrigadava testifies, five or 
six centuries earlier, to this same manner of conceiving 
the subject : the compartment which we know beforehand 
to have been reserved for the miracle of Cravasti shows us, 
in fact, like the miniatures, three Buddhas seated on lotuses 
in the attitude of teaching. This is the new fact supplied 
by this discovery, and it will not be long before its conse- 
quences unfold themselves before our eyes. 

But, first of all, a question arises as to whether we must 
restrict ourselves to merely stating, or whether we can suc- 
ceed in explaining, the unexpected choice of the artists. If 
we consider only the stele in question (pi. XIX, i), it seems 
that we may immediately see a reason, although an external 
one, for the course taken by its author. Let us observe, in 
fact, that of the four great supplementary scenes of the 
legend of Buddha there are two which absolutely necessi- 
tate a standing posture : they are the subjugation of the 
wild elephant and the descent from heaven. A legitimate 
care for symmetry in the alternation of the poses would 
have demanded a sitting posture in the corresponding 
scenes, not only in the monkey's offering, but also in the 
great miracle of Qravasti. Such, at least, is the idea impe- 
riously suggested by an examination of the apportion- 
ment of the subjects on the new stele — the only one, 

(i) See Icon, houddh. de VInde, I, pi. X, i (cf. Bendall, Catalogue of the 
Buddhist Sanskrit Manuscripts in the University Library, Cambridge, 1883, 
pi. II, i), and cf. ibid. p. 205, no. 82, and II, pp. 114, no. 4. 


let us remember, that we possess with the eight scenes 
complete (cf. the table below). 

First Preaching 
Buddha seated 

Descent from Heaven 
Buddha standing 

Buddha lying down 


Miracle of Qrdvasti 
Buddha seated 

Offering of the monhey 
Buddha seated 


Maya standing 

Stihjugation of the elephant 
Buddha standing 

Perfect enlightenment 
Buddha seated 

It is scarcely necessary to remark that this reason, 
valid for the whole, is inapphcable to an isolated panel. 
The reading of the texts will furnish an argument of wider 
bearing. It does not, in fact, take us long to perceive that they 
use and abuse the yamaka-prdtihdrya. The general introduc- 
tion of the Jdtaka makes it to be wrought by Buddha as 
early as the eighth day after the Bodhi, and specifies that 
he repeated it under three other circumstances, (i) at the 
time of his visit to Kapilavastu and of his meeting with 
his father and his relatives, the ^akyas, (2) at the time of 
his encounter with the heterodox monk Patikaputta, 
and last, (3) at ^ravasti, at the foot of the mango-tree ('). 
The Divydvaddna attributes it further to a simple monk ; 
the Mahdvastu to Yacoda or Ya^ as, the converted son of 
the banker of Benares; the Sutrdlahkdra to the five hun- 
dred bhikshunis, companions ot Mahaprajapati ; the Jdtaka- 

(i) Jdtaka, I, pp. 77 and 88; trans. Rhys Davids, Buddhist Birth Stories, 
pp. 105 and 123; on the first of the three other occasions cf. MaMws/w, III, 
p, 115, and on the second the Manual of Sp. Hardy, p. 33I- 


mdU to a Pratyeka-Buddha ; finally, the Mahavamsa twice 
places it to the account of simple reUcs of the Blessed 
One, etc. ('). We receive the impression that the yamaka- 
prdtihdrya has become hackneyed in consequence of being 
classic. Moreover when, after having accomplished it, Bud- 
dha returns and seats himself in his place, he informs king 
Prasenajit in a moment of proud modesty that « this 
kind of magical power is common to all the disciples of the 
Tathagata» Q. Hence it may be conceived that artists and 
worshippers were of one mind in no longer finding in 
this banal wonder anything to characterize with suffi- 
cient clearness the great scene of (^ravasti, and preferred 
the multiplication of the teaching images of the Master : 
for it is written that this last miracle is realizable only by 
the special power of the Buddha and the gods Q. 

Finally, if we must conceal nothing, we seem to 
detect in the texts themselves a tendency to confuse the 
two kinds of wonders, and even to ehminate the former 
in favour of the latter. First of all, there seems to have 
been at times a misapprehension as to the real meaning 
of the expression yamaka-prdtihdrya. This technical term 
« twin miracles » does in fact lend itself to confusion. 
We know now from the very explicit descriptions of the 
Divydvaddna and the Mahdvastu that it must be understood 

(i) Divydvaddna, p. 378 ; Mahdvastu, III, p. 410; Sutrdlankdra, trans, 
Ed. Hdber, p. 399; Jdtakamdld, IV, 20 ; Mahdvamsa, pp. 107 and 191 (Tdr- 
no0r), 137 and 254 (Geiger). 

(2) Divydvaddna, p. 161, 1. 13 : sarvafrdvaka-sddhdrana. The text of the 
conamentary of Jdtaka, n° 483, IV, p. 265, 11. 12-13 ■ Asddhdranam sdva- 
kehiyamaka-p", which seems to mean the contrary, becomes in consequence 
most suspicious, at least if the two texts are speaking of the same miracle. 

(3) Divydvaddna, p. 162, ad fin. The power of holding a dialogue with a 
magic double is likewise stated a little further (on p. 166, 1. 11) as a privi- 
lege of perfect Buddhas only and inaccessible to simple fravakas. 


as the combined alternation of the two opposite wonders 
of water and fire : but it was not without reason that in 
1880 Prof. Rhys Davids understood it to mean « making 
another appearance like unto himself » . In the Burmese 
narrative translated by Bigandet (') Buddha does, indeed, 
begin by making flames or streams gush forth alternately 
from the upper and lower parts of his body : but very soon 
he hastens to create a companion for his conversation 
and his walks, and sometimes it is his turn, and some- 
times that of his double, to walk or to sit down, to ques- 
tion or to reply. It is curious to notice that the Divyd- 
vaddna also makes the magically multiplied images of the 
Blessed One assume varied attitudes, and whilst some 
repeat afresh the marvels of water and fire, « others either 
ask questions or give answers to them ». It even goes so 
far as to introduce most unexpectedly, as an ending to the 
chapter, a dialogue between Buddha and another self, crea- 
ted expressly for this purpose Q. Thus it manifests at 
least a certain propensity to amalgamate the two successive 
moments which it at first endeavoured to distinguish, and 
to confuse the reduplication of the miracles with that of 
the images Q). Butthis is not all. In another passage of the 
same collection the reverend Piridola Bharadvaja relates to 
king Afoka this same miracle of Qravasti, of which he 

(i) See Rhys Davids, Buddh. Birth Stories, p. 105, n. 4; and Bigandet, 
loc. cit., p. 207. 

(2) Divydvaddna, p. 162, 11. 17-20, and 166, 11. 3-1 1 ; cf. the description 
of plate XXI, 2. 

(3) The same confusion seems to be reproduced with regard to the miracles 
attributed to the monk Panthaka ; as regards these last I am indebted to the 
obliging friendship and incomparably extensive information of Prof. S. Levi 
for the following references : Divydvaddna, p. 494; Anguttara-Nikdya, I, 14 
(p. 24) ; Fisuddhi-magga, analysed in/. Pdli Text Society, 1891-1893, p. 114 ; 
Vinaya (^Chinese) of the Sarvistivddins (c. 11), of the Mahi^^sakas (c, 7), 
of the Dharmaguptas (c. 12), etc. 


represents himself as an eye witness. Now he no longer 
even mentions the yamaka-prdtiharya : « And when, o! 
Great King, in order to triumph over the Tirthyas, the 
great miracle was accomplished at Qravasti by the Blessed 
One, and there was created an array of Buddhas which 
mounted up to the heaven of the Akanishtha gods, at that 
time I was there, and I saw these sports of Buddha (') ». 
Here it is no longer a question of anything but the second 
miracle. Finally, we again find this latter, reduced to its 
most simple expression, in the Buddhacarita of Agvaghosha, 
whose descriptions are always so close to the figured monu- 
ments. According to him (so far as we can trust the English 
translation made by the Rev. S. Beal from the Chinese 
translation of the original Sanskrit) Buddha restricts himself 
to rising into the air and there remaining seated, and 
« diffusing his glory like the hght of the sun, he shed 
abroad the brightness of his presence ». In this version — 
by a strange coincidence, but one which in our opinion it 
would be vain to seek to press further — the mahd-prdtihdrya 
quite assumes the characteristics of a Transfiguration : « His 
face did shine as the sun, and his raiment became white as 
the light O ». 


These waverings of tradition, as they are thus indicated in 
the texts, may help us to understand the at first somewhat 
surprising choice of the Indian image-makers. Regarding 

(i) Divydvaddna,p. 401 (cf. Burnodf, Introd., p. 398) : it will be noticed 
that these are exactly the same terms as are employed on two occasions 
in the previously quoted suira (Divyavaddm, p. 162, 11. 16 and 26). — 
P. 401, 1. 15, read probably aham instead of mahat. 

(2) Sacred Books of the East, XIX, p. 240; Gospel accordim to St. Matthew 
XVII, 2. 


the fact of the choice itself there is, as we said above, no 
room for doubt. Let us resume the examination of the new 
panel, no. 5 of plate XIX, i : On a lotus, whose peduncle 
issues from a ripple of waves rolled into volutes, Buddha 
is seated with crossed legs in the hallowed posture, and his 
hands are joined in the gesture of instruction; on his 
right and left, again, there rises a. padjna with a. long stalk, 
bearing another smaller Buddha, similar in all respects to 
the first... Now it is written in the Divydvaddm that at 
that moment — namely, at a second invitation from Prase- 
najit and when the first series of miracles was already 
accomplished — « Buddha conceived a mundane thought » . 
Immediately the Gods rush forward to execute it : Brahma 
takes a place at his right and Qakra at his left, while the 
two Naga kings, Nanda and Upananda, create entire a 
wonderful lotus, on the corolla of which the Blessed One 
seats himself. Then by the force of his magic power, 
« above this lotus he created another, and on this one also 
a Buddha was seated with his legs crossed : and thus in 
front, behind, at the sides... »The crowd of Buddhas, hold- 
ing themselves in the four consecrated attitudes (erect, 
walking, seated, or recumbent), soon rise to the highest 
heavens (*). The bas-relief, unable to juggle, like the text, 
with numbers and forms, shows us just three of them, all 
alike seated : but by now there is for us no question that 
we must see in this restricted space an attempt, however 
timid, to realize the legendary phantasmagoria. 

(1) Cf. Divyavaddna, p. 162. We know that the heaven of the Akanishthas 
is the highest heaven of the Riipadhdtu, at the 2y^ story of the Buddhist 
paradises. We remember also that the two kings of the serpents, « Nanda 
and his junior », play a part in a number of episodes in the life of Buddha, 
beginning with the bath which followed the nativity. We shall find infor- 
mation concerning them extracted by M. Ed. Huber from the Vinaya of the 
Mula-Sarvistividins in the B. £. F. E.-O., VI, 1906, pp. 8 sqq. 


With this abridged version we may connect imme- 
diately other more developed pictures, such, for example, 
as that which totally covers another stele originating from 
Sarnath ('), and in which are staged no less than four 
rows of Buddhas, seated or standing pi. (XIX, 2), On seeing 
the upward-branching lotus stems which bear these small 
figures, we might believe ourselves in the presence of a 
genealogical tree of Buddhas. Thus we are invincibly led 
to recall those which, either carved or painted, entirely 
cover great stretches of the walls of several of the subter- 
ranean temples of Ajanta. One of these frescoes, of which 
a copy has been pubhshed, very gracefully combines 
wreaths of flowers and foliage with the dreamy figures of 
the seated or standing Buddhas Q) : it decorates the wall 
on the right, in the antechamber of the sanctuary of Cave I ; 

(i) Again let us cite no. (Sdrndth) i of the Calcutta Museum (Anderson, 
Catalogue, II, p. 4; Anc. Mon. India, pi. 68, i), the left upper division of 
which unfortunately broken) represents similarly the « great miracle » of 
Qlravasti opposite 10 the « descent from heaven » (cf. below, p. 164, n. i). 
It will be observed that on two other stelae of the same origin {Anc. Mon. 
India, pll. (>j,'i and 68, 2 : Art g.-b. du Gandh., fig. 209, and Iconog. bouddh. 
de rinde, I, fig. 29, to the right) analogous representations of the same 
miracle decorate the borders of the stone and enclose the scene. 

(2) See Griffiths, The Paintings oj Ajanta, pi. XV (cf. on the plan of the 
grotto the letter O and X, ibid., pi. IV and pl. VIII) and Burgess, Notes 
on the Bauddha Rock Temples of Ajantd, p. 17 ; the paintings of this cave are 
usually attributed to the W'^ century. — in Cave II the walls of the ante- 
chamber of the sanctuary are likewise adorned with figures of Buddha, 
of a very inferior make to those of the preceding ones. M. Griffiths coun- 
ted 1055 of them, measuring about m. 20 high and covering a surface of 
22 square metres : he has reproduced some of them, pl. XXIV (cf. p. 28, 
and Burgess, loc. cit., p. 35, § XVIII ad fin.). — One may immediately 
connect with these frescoes the « thousand Buddhas » painted on the vault 
of the grotto no. i of Murtuk, a specimen of which Prof. Grijnwedel has 
reproduced in his interesting Bericht iiber Archseologische Arbeiten in Idikut- 
schari und Umgebung im Winter 1902-1903, pl. XXX : notice the strangely 
stereotyped character of the support of this Buddha, affecting both a cloud 
and a lotus. 


and no one will be surprised to learn that there it forms a 
pendant to another of the eight great scenes, « the Perfect 
Illumination », symbolized on the left wall by the Mdra- 
dharsham. The high rehefs of plate XX merely reproduce it 
m stone : in imitation of the painting the sculptor has not 
failed to fill the space between his characters with leaves 
and buds of pink lotuses, of the same kind even as those 
which bear his superposed rows of Buddhas ('). Only it 
will be observed that the stem of the seat of the central 
figure, at the bottom, is supported with both hands by two 
kneeHng ndgardjas, both wearing head-dresses of five ser- 
pent heads. As we have just been reading the Divydvaddna, 
their names immediately occur to our minds : they are 
Nandaand Upananda. Thus we find ourselves in possession 
of an explanation satisfactory down to the details of the com- 
positions. We have not, as was thought, to do with simple 
debauches of piously decorative imagery : we must here 
recognize representations on a vast scale, by reason of the 
space which the artist had at his disposal, of the « great 
miracle » of ^ravasti (-). This is indeed, if one reflects 
upon it, the only orthodox method of explaining the 
simultaneous presence of several Buddhas in the same pic- 
ture, when an absolute law says that there shall never be 

(i) All the necessary particulars concerning this sculpture are given oppo- 
site to plate XX. In the Arch. Survey of Western India, vol. IV, pi. XXXVII, 
2 (cf. ibid., p. 52), will be found a drawing of the opposite wall of the 
same vestibule of the sanctuary, with its eight rows of Buddhas, seven of 
which are rows of seven : the nagarajas are not missing. 

(2) Is it worth while to observe that nowhere, either in these represen- 
tations or in those considered above, have we found any trace of an attempt 
at an artistic realization of the fancies imagined by the editor of the Hien-yu- 
yin-yuen king ? Never, in particular, do we see rays which open out into lotus 
bearers of illusory Buddhas burst from the « pores of the skin », or from 
the « navel », of the principal character, as is written in Schmidt's translation 
from the Tibetan D%ang-lun (JDir Weise und der Thor, pp. 82 and 84). 

i62 The great miracle 

more than a single one at one time in each world-system. 
It follows that we must at the outset suspect the exist- 
ence of this subject every time that we find ourselves in 
the presence of multiple images of Buddha : not, certainly, 
where they are isolated in separate sections or merely 
juxtaposed, but where they are evidently associated in the 
same action (*). If from this point of view we examine 
the reliefs and the frescoes of Ajanta, we shall not fail to 
discover a whole series of replicas, somewhat less prolix, but 
not less surely identifiable, than the preceding. Here we 
will restrict ourselves to citing the most typical of these 
variants. It seems that we shall have to look for them in 
the immediate neighbourhood of the inner sanctuaries : 
« On the back wall, between the left chapel and antecham- 
ber [of the adytum ot cave II], a large Buddha has seated 
himself under an dmba (mango) tree with an Indra on his 
right and a Bodhisattva on his left (■). His feet rest on a 

(i) This restriction is necessary for three reasons. First, we must reckon 
■with the progressive crowding together of images of Buddha on the facade 
or inner walls of the same sanctuary at tlie expense of various donors. — 
Secondly, we must not forget the relatively ancient juxtaposition (cf. 
pi. XXVI, i) of the seven Buddhas of our age : but we are prepared to believe 
that there may be a close connection between this motifs and the u grand 
miracle », either because in the latter the Buddhas prefer to affect the 
number 7 in rows (ct. p. 161, n. i and p. 163), or because the representa- 
tions of the a seven Buddhas » are strongly influenced by those of the 
mahd-prdtihdrya (as is notably the case at Ajanta for the pi. XCI of Griffiths, 
in contrast to pi. LXI). Finally, we do not pretend do deny that at a fairly 
late period there may have been sought, in a mechanical repetition of images 
of the Master, an automatic accumulation of merit : but it is our opinion 
that the origin of this inept procedure must be sought in the single motif 
■where its employment was canonical ly justified. 

(2) Dr. Burgess, he. cit., p. 34, § XVII : we think it necessary to make 
a choice and say; « between Brahmtl and Indra », or « between two Bodhi- 
sattvas » : but that can be decided only on the spot. Let us remark also that 
a mango-tree cannot be a Bodhi-druma. The letters E-F mark the place of 
this panel on the plan of Cave II, given by Mr. Griffiths, pi. XX. e Wmust 


white lotus : a worshipper is below a little to the left. Across 
the top are seven Buddhas in various mudrds, each on a 
lotus, the stalks being brought up from below. On each 
side of the Bodhi-druma, or sacred tree, are two Buddhas... 
Below these, on each side, were two pairs more », etc. We 
borrow this description from the notes of Dr. Burgess : 
it would not be possible to find a better one for the « great 
miracle » of ^ravasti, including the mango-tree of the Pali 
tradition. It is again the same subject which in Cave XVII, 
on the right wall of the vestibule of the sanctuary, forms 
a pendant to the no less famous miracle of <c the descent 
from heaven » (') ; and this replica, unfortunately very 
much damaged, contains also a topical and rather excep- 
tional detail : « The right end of the antechamber », says 
Dr. Burgess (^), « is painted with standing and sitting 
Buddhas ; the lower portion, however, is destroyed, except 
a fragment at each end. The portion remaining at the 
right side is very curious, representing a number of Digam- 
bara Jaina hhikshus helping forward an old fat one, 
and carrying the rajoharana or pichi, a besom to sweep 
away insects, etc. Most of them are shaven-headed and 
stark naked. One or two, who wear their hair, are clothed. 
On the extreme left are an elephant and a horse with two 
men. The intermediate painting is completely destroyed ». 
By now it is not difficult for us to recognize — exactly as 

add that the fresco is approximately dated « by an inscription painted in the 
alphabet of the VI"» century ». 

(i) The DevAvtt&ra is there represented in three stages, as on the pillar ot 
Barhut (Cunningh/m. Stupa of Barhut, pi. XVII) : at the top is seen the 
« Preaching to the Trayastrira^a Gods «, in the middle the « Descent from 
Heaven », at the bottom the'« Questions to ^anputra ». Only these last 
two episodes are represented on Ghiffiths' plate LIV ; for the plan of 
Cave XVII cf. his plate LIII. 

(2) Loc. cit., p. 69, § XXXIII, 



on plate LXVIII of the Anc. Mon. of India (') — at the 
left at least an indication ofthe royal presence of Prasenajit, 
to the right the demoralized troop of Tirthyas ; and doubt- 
less the obese and naked old man, whose steps these have 
to support, is the Purana Ka^yapa whom the Buddhist 
legend denotes as their leader and whose defeat is about 
to have for penalty an ignominious suicide (^). It is again 
he whom we believe we can identify on the left side of 
the new panel of plate XIX, i, by his shaven head, his naked- 
ness and, especially, by his strange backward posture, in 
striking contrast to the devout attitude of the Buddhist 
monk who forms a pendant to him on the other side. But, 
on the whole, representations of monks belonging to other 
sects are rather rare in Buddhist art, even where their 
presence would be most expected : and the pictures ofthe 
Master's triumphs willingly dispense with the not very 
edifying spectacle ofthe vanquished. It would be only the 
more desirable that we should possess a good reproduction 
of what is still to be found of this Ajanta fresco. Lacking 
this, we must content ourselves with giving a sketch of 
one of those which adorn the principal archway of 
Cave IX (pi. XXI, i). We know the curious aspect of that 
little subterranean chapel, with its three naves, its portal 
gallery and its stupa marking the position ofthe altar : the 
warm, ruddy tones of its frescoes give the finishing touches 

(i) At the bottom of the upper compartment on the left we perceive, 
indeed, in addition to the two nagarajas who are holding up the stem of 
the central lotus, i^t, at the left of the spectator. King Prasenajit, who is 
recognizable by his parasol-bearer and his elephant, and 2""^, facing him, 
also seated upon a stool, Purana Ki^yapa, in the form of a fat, naked man, 
with shaven head, who is supported from behind under the arms by one of his 
companions. We may connect with this type that of the same person in Art 
g.-b. du Gandh. (fig. 261 and 225 c), and read, ibid., pp. 529 and 537, 
remarks on the rarety of these representations of « sectarians ». 

(2) Divydvaddna, p. 165 


to the illusion of an ancient basilica. Above the pillars, 
where the triforium should be, ranges a series of pain- 
tings representing hieratic groups ('). One, almost com- 
plete, which is represented by our plate, has the advan- 
tage of uniting only the essential elements of the subject, 
namely, the three Buddhas with their feet placed on lotuses, 
and — at each side of the one in the centre of the pic- 
ture, who is teaching, and of whom the two others are, and 
can only be, illusory emanations — the two traditional divi- 
nities, voluntarily reduced to the humble role of flyflap- 
holders. Is it necessary to observe that this is exactly the 
same distribution of persons Q that we find again on the 
lower row of plate XIX, 2 ? 

All the specimens of which we have just been speaking, 
both from Benares and from Ajanta, can in bulk be dated, 
in accordance with the alphabet of the inscriptions on some 
of them, as of the V" or ¥1"" century of our era. We shall 
not hesitate, in spite of time and distance, to connect 
with them the numerous groups which decorate the princi- 
pal wall of the highest sculptured gallery of Boro-Budur 
(IX"* century). Almost the whole of this wall is covered 
with variations on the theme of the « Great miracle » of 

(i) Cf. Griffiths, Paintings of Ajanta, pll. XXXVIII and XXXIX. 

(2) The only differences to be observed consist, i^' in the somewhat 
capricious detail (cf. p. 167) of the orientation of the acolyte Buddhas, turned 
or not towards the central Buddha ; 2""! in the fact that the latter has a lotus 
not for a seat, but only for a footstool. This kind of throne and this sitting 
position « in the European mode » are current peculiarities of the local 
style, although they are not unknown to the school of Benares and although 
■we may have found them even so far as in the great Buddha of the Chandi 
Mendut near Boro-Budur in Java. They constitute all the less an obstacle to 
the proposed attribution since the central lotus, while treated as a simple little 
bench, is nevertheless usually supported by the two classical ndgardjas (cf. 
for example, in Arch. Survey West. India, IV, pi. XXXVI, 2, the Buddha 
craAed on the stupa of cave XXVI of Ajinta, and below, p. 168). 


Qravasti ; and this profusion of replicas is sufficiently justi- 
fied by the enormous surface which the sculptors of the 
monuments had received instructions to decorate. We 
content ourselves here with reproducing the group placed 
at the left of the eastern staircase, which we know was 
that of the facade (pi. XXII). On the other side an analo- 
gous group forms a pendant thereto, except that it is still 
more complex and contains no less than seventeen images 
of the Blessed One. The general arrangement of these 
compositions is a compromise — doubtless imposed by 
the dimensions of the rectangular panels, which were 
much wider than they were high — between the line taken 
by plates XIX, 2 and XX and that by plate XXI, i : but on 
one side or the other all the topical features are to be found. 
This symmetrical reduplication of Buddhas, supported by 
lotuses and surrounded by divinities, suffices to establish 
not only the undeniable relationship of the schools, but 
also the fundamental identity of the subjects. 

Inevitable, again, is the connection with many of the 
great rock-sculptures of northern China, less remote in time, 
but not less distant in space, from their Indian prototypes. 
We shall note especially, among the gigantic images which 
decorate the grottos of Ta-t ong-fu (V" century), those 
recently published by M. Chavannes, which, as he informs 
us, owe the possibility of their being so clearly photograph- 
ed to the fact that the crumbhng of the rocky facade has left 
them open to the sky (pi. XXI, 2). The presence of a 
second Buddha standing at the left of the great seated one, 

— the acolyte on the right has disappeared in the fallen debris 

— is sufficient to recall the mahd-prdtihdrya : and the innu- 
merables figures of the Blessed One, superposed upon a 
kind of band, which form nimbuses and aureoles on the 
flamboyant background of the tejas, finally convince us 


that we have to deal with a representation of this miracle 
in the traditional form of the multiplication of Buddhas (*). 
All these works of art, painted or carved, whether Chi- 
nese, Japanese, or Indian, represent more or less, in fact, — 
to make use of the expression employed in Hterature, — the 
vaipulya method of sculptured tradition. Let us return to 
our starting point, I mean to the quite summary lesson 
presented to us by the stele of the Archaeological Survey 
(pi. XIX, i) : we shall see connected with it also a series of 
replicas no less sober than itself. A carving, which we 
believe to be unpublished, will furnish us with a type of 
them, at least as far as Magadha is concerned (pi. XXIII, i). 
A great Buddha, seated, in the attitude for teaching, on a lo- 
tus whose stem is flanked by two Nagarajas, is inserted be- 
tween two other images of himself, with feet also resting on 
lotuses. The only novelty introduced is that the two aco- 
lyte Buddhas, instead of confronting the spectator, as in plate 
XIX, I, or being turned towards the central person, as in 
plate XXI, I , or slightly turned from him, as in plate XIX, 
2, are looking in exactly opposite directions. This slab, of 
rather rude workmanship and late date C), will serve as a 
perfectly natural transition to the miniatures of the Nepa- 
lese or Bengal manuscripts of the XP-XIII" centuries. 

(i) We should like to connect with these groups from Ta-t'ong-fu others 
somewhat later, which decorate the grottos of the pass of Long-Men 
(Ho-nan), of which also M. Chavannes has brought back photographs 
taken in the course of his last mission in China (see, already, Toung Pao, 
Oct 1908, fig. 4; cf. Journal asiatique, July-August 1912, figg. 1-4; Bull. 
Ecole jr. Extr.-Or., V, 1905, fig. 36) : but here the two acolyte Buddhas 
have been changed into two simple monks ! The transformation might in 
strictness be explained by scrupulous orthodoxy (cf. above, pp. 161-162). 

(2) For a reproduction of an analogous group, of the same provenanee 
and likewise preserved in the Museum of Calcutta, see Et. sur I'Iconogr. 
bouddh. de I'Inde, I, fig. 28, where these three Buddhas are placed just below 
a representation of the Nativity. 


where the representation of the « great miracle » of Qravasti 
by three Buddhas back to back has become the constant 
rule Q). The identification of our plate XXIII, i, which 
already flowed naturally from the analogy of the new stele 
of Sarnath, receives, on the other hand, an interesting con- 
firmation in extremis from these latest indigenous manifes- 
tations of Buddhist art. 

Whilst definitely taking this turn in eastern India, our 
subject became in the West by degrees stereotyped under 
a form equally abridged, but sensibly different. The place 
occupied by EUas and Moses in the Christian pictures of 
the Transfiguration is now, in the representations of the 
Buddhist « great miracle », no longer held by the two 
acolyte Buddhas, but by two divine attendants. The ima- 
gery of the valley of the Ganges had reduced their part to 
almost nothing, or even omitted it entirely : here, on the 
contrary, they end by figuring alone at the side of the 
Master, standing on lateral lotuses and retaining in their 
hands their fly-flappers. As to the central Buddha, at one 
time he continues to sit in the Indian manner upon a 
padma like that of plates XIX-XX; at other times, and more 
frequently, he is installed on a throne after the manner of 
Europeans, as in plate XXI, i, and only uses the necessary 
lotus as a footstool : but nevertheless the two traditional 
Nagarajas continue to hold up its stem. We borrow from a 
mural sculpture of Kuda the most reduced type of the first 
variant (pi. XXIII, 2) : ano less summary specimen of the 
second would be furnished by one of the caves of Kon- 
divt6 O- But, above all, we must recognize that all the cave- 

(i) Cf. above, p. 154, n. i. 

(2) See Bdrgess, A. S. W. I., IV, pi. XLIII, I, left part (cf. iUd., p. 71). 
Cf. the fuller replicas of Kanheri, ihid., fig, 22; Budih. Art in India, fig. 60, 
3nd Cave Temples of India, pi. LVI (cf. ibid., p. 358), etc. 


temples of western India are covered with representations of 
this kind. On this point it is sufficient to refer to the testi- 
mony, which no one will think of challenging, of Fer- 
gusson and Burgess. Along with them we might gather 
an ample harvest of rephcas of the « great miracle ». If 
we do no undertake to draw up a hst from their descrip- 
tions or from the too cursory notes which we formerly 
found occasion to take, it is because on these sculptures of 
a late period there is always reason to fear contamination 
of subjects ('). 


We have followed up the evolution of the subject and 
its variants from the V"" century of our era to the final 
extinction of Buddhist art in India. Could we not now, after 
having brought the course of its history as far down as 
possible, endeavour to remount towards its origin and seek 
in the preceding schools, beginning with that of Gandhara, 
the prototypes of the monuments which we have just iden- 
tified? The enterprise imposes itself upon us, and there 
seems to be no way of escape. Such fortunately is, so far as 

(i) In fact these contaminations have not failed to take place. The Buddha 
of the mahdprdiiharya of Qravasti makes the gesture of instruction, exactly as 
does the Buddha of the Dharmacakra-pravartana of Benares : nothingfurther 
•was required to provoque confusions and exchanges between the two motifs 
originally characterized, the one by the lotus with the Nagarajas, the other 
by the wheel -with the gazelles On plate 164 oi Anc. Mm. India, by the 
side of the subject of our plate XXIII, 2, we find some « First Preachings » 
treated as « Great Miracles », except that the gazelles have replaced the 
Nigarijas on each side of the lotus ; on the facade of the great temple of 
Karli (ibid., pi. 168) the gazelles have even been intercalated above Naga- 
rijas ! From this it may be conceived with what precautions we must 
surround ourselves before risking a firm identification from descriptions 


Buddhist iconography is concerned, the routine force of 
tradition, that, in order to succeed in this second part of 
our task, it will suffice to determine with exactitude the 
distinctive feature common to all the verified represen- 
tations of the mahdprdtihdrya. Now, if you turn over the 
plates afresh, you will very soon observe that what 
characterizes them above all is the special form of this 
lotus « with a thousand petals ('), as broad as a chariot 
wheel, of solid gold, with a diamond stem », stand- 
ing out entirely from the pHnth. Whether supported 
or not by the two Nagarajas, whose masterpiece it is, it 
constantly serves as a throne — or at least as a footstool 
— to a Buddha eated in the attitude of teaching. By this 
sign we must henceforth retrospectively identify a whole 
series of Greco-Buddhist stelae, the greater number of 
which have already been published, but not explained, 
and which for the convenience of the reader we have here 
collected together before his eyes (pll. XXIV-XXVIII, i). 
The most sober type (and the one which most closely 
resembles that of plate XXIII, 2) presents to us a Buddha, 
flanked simply, in addition to the usual worshippers, by two 
standing divinities (*), who, like him, are sheltered under 

(i) Divydvaddna, p. 162, 11. 9-1 1. Cf.the epithet of Buddha in Kshemen- 
dra's Dagdvatdracarita, IX, 54 : Bhunirgata-pratata-kdncana-padma-prstha- 

(2) We may connect with this group that of the British Museum, repro- 
duced by Dr. Burgess (</oMr». of Indian Art and Jnd., no. 62, 1898, pi. 8, 2 
=zAnc. Mon. India, pi. 92, in the middle) : the teaching Buddha and the two 
divinities are seated, or standing, on the enlarged pericarp of a lotus flower. 
In the acolyte at the right we recognise Brahma by his head-dress and his 
water vessel, in the one on the left Qakra by his diadem. The two worship- 
pers are withdrawn to the bottom of the stele and separated by what is 
usually the stalk of the central lotus, but is here treated as a pyre. — We 
pay no regard to another image (that of the Calcutta Museum), likewise 
published by Dr. Bdrgess(/. 7.^,/., no. 69, Jan. 1900, Hg. 24= Buddh. Art 


parasols, adorned with garlands (pi. XXIV, i). On plate 
XXIV, 2 we scarcely divine the suggestion of the lotuses on 
which rest the seat of the Master and the feet of his two aco- 
lytes : on the other hand, two other busts of the Blessed 
One are interposed in the hollows delimited by the Unes 
of their shoulders : except for the exchange of place be- 
tween the two gods and the two magical Buddhas, it is evi- 
dently the same group as on plates XIX, 2 (first row) and 
XXI, I . At other times the ingenious art of the sculptor 
erects graceful architectures (pi. XXV) above the three prin- 
cipal characters : doubtless we must here recognize the 
pratihdrya-mandapa, built expressly for the occasion of the 
miracle; but we remain free to admire in it, together with 
the Mula-Sarvastivadins, the royal munificence of Prase- 
najit, or, with the Theravadins, the divine skill of Vigvakar- 
man ('). At one time (*) it is a simple portico that presides 
above the three seated figures (pi. XXV, 2^. At another time 
bolder constructions lodge beneath their domes or arches 
images of Buddha or even accessory episodes (pll. XXV, i 
and XXVI, i). On this last plate the two divinities, again 
standing, have each provided themselves with a long gar- 
land, which we shall find in their hands on all the reproduc- 
tions that we still have to examine (pll. XXVI, 2-XXVIII, 
i). The latter, like those first cited, place the scene — or 
rather, the vision — in the open sky : at the most, they 

in India, fig. 112) : here Buddha is indeed seated between the two worshippers 
on the characteristic lotus, but — by an exception which, for the rest, is 
since the last excavations of Takht-i-Bahai (cf. below, p. 172, note i) not 
unique —he is making the gesture of meditation, instead of that of instruction. 

(i) Divydvaddna, p. 155, 1. 18 ; Jdtaka, IV, p. 265, 1. 10. 

(2) From the point of view of the arrangement of the attendants we 
may connect with this plate the fragment published by Dr J Ph. Vogel in 
Archxol. Survey Report, 1^0^-1904, pi. LXVIII b (with the Nigarajas) and c. 


shelter some small figures under aerial sediculse. However, 
the number of divine spectators increases in a striking man- 
ner. Now they are placed one above the other on their lotus 
supports, profiting by all the liberty which a picture of 
apparitions allows to be taken with the laws of perspective. 
At the same time the central Buddha becomes bigger, and 
his figure still more disproportionate to his surroundings. 
The garlands which used to hang above his head no longer 
suffice; there is now added a crown, borne by two little 
genii, with or without wings; once even other marvellous 
beings, with their busts terminating in foUage, hold still 
higher a parasol of honour. Lastly, among the images which 
have emanated from the Blessed One, some, as if better to 
emphasize their supernatural and magical character, are 
surrounded by an irradiation in the form of an aureole 
composed of other Buddhas ('). 

These specimens are more than are required to prove 
that we have not to deal with the fancy of some isolated 
artist, but, in reality, with a traditional subject, constantly 

(i) See the two upper corners of plate XXVIII, i and compare fig. 78 of 
Art. g.-b du Gandh., and especially the panel recently discovered by Dr. D. 
B. Spooner at Takht i-Bahai and published by Mr. J. H. Marshall in the/. 
R. A. S., Oct. 1908, pi. VI, 3. Here again we recognize the mdha-prdtihdrya. 
The lotuses which once decorated the bottom of the slab have almost 
disappeared through the defacement of the stone; but it is not so with those 
■which support the characters above, that is, five little seated Buddhas 
(three of whom are at the top among foliage), and the two divine garland- 
bearers. Byway of an exception the principal Buddha affects the pose of medi- 
tation. The front of his parasol is curiously adorned with a crescent moon, 
doubtless in order to emphasize the aerostatic character of the miracle. But 
the point which specially holds our attention is the indication on each 
side of his body, between the knee and the shoulder, of four little BudJhas, 
standing on lotuses and arranged obliquely like the outspread feathers of a 
peacock's tail. — It is known that Sir Adhel Stein found this procedure in 
use also on the sculptures of Rawak in Chinese Turkestan (Ancient Khotan, 
I, figg. 62-65 j cf. Sand-buried Ruins of Khotan, frontispiece). 


reproduced for the edification, and at the request, of the 
faithful. The series of these examples adjusts itself without 
effort in all its characteristic features — seat, attitude, ges- 
ture, surroundings of Buddha, etc, — to that in which we 
have already with certainty recognized versions of the « great 
miracle » of Qravasti. By virtue of the close relationship 
which we have often had an opportunity of noting between 
the Greco-Buddhist sculpture and the tradition of the 
Mula-Sarvastivadins we must more than ever appeal to the 
Divydvaddna for information concerning the identity of the 
various personages. In the two « kings of the serpents », 
who at times support the stem of the great lotus (pll.XXV, 
2 ; XXVII ; XXVIII, i), we naturally continue to greet our 
old acquaintances cc Nanda and his junior », either accom- 
panied or not by their wives. From these « fallen beings » 
we pass to the human bystanders. It has been asked whe- 
ther the two lay devotees without nimbuses and of different 
sexes, who on plate XXVIII, i surround the seat of Buddha, 
are not merely donors of the stele Q. But it will be noti- 
ced that their point of support is, like that of the rest of the 
figures, the enlarged pericarp of a lotus : they appear, there- 
fore;, to form an integral part of the scene. For the same 
reason we must refuse to see in them anonymous wor- 
shippers : rather should we seek here — exactly as in their 
kneeling counterparts on plate XXIV, i — that Luhasu- 

(i) This identification was proposed incidentally by Dr. J. Ph. Vogel, 
A. S. I. Rep., 1903-1904, p. 257 : but, in a general way, we believe it safer 
to look for donors only on the bases of stelae (cf. pll. XXV, i ; XXVI, i, and 
XXVU) or the pedestals of statues. — On the other hand, the hypothesis of 
Dr. Vogel {ibid , n. 3) which suggests the identity of the four nimbused 
figures seated on the lower row of the same stele (pi. XXVIII, i) with the 
four Lokapilas, seems to us most probable and confirmed by analogy with 
plates XXVI 2, and XXVII. 


datta and his wife, « the mother of Riddhila » ('), who in 
turn and in vain proposed to the Blessed One to accompUsh 
the miracle in his stead. Likewise, on plate XXV, 2, the 
text expressly invites us to recognize in the monk and nun 
kneeling at each side of the Master the agra^rdvikd Utpala- 
varna Q and the agragr&vaka Maudgalyayana, who also 
asked, and saw themselves successively refused, the same 
authorization. It is, then, these same four personages, 
rather than commonplace worshippers, whom we should 
prefer to recognize on plate XXIV, 2. We should be equally 
ready to find King Prasenajit, the impartial (') president 
of this public manifestation : but, even where the num- 
ber of spectators is increased, his royal equipage never 
appears, as later, to betray his incognito (*). In front of the 
four men of good caste seated at the bottom of plate XXVI, 
2, it seems that we are rather, as on plates XXVII and 
XXVIII, I, in the presence of the four guardian gods 
of our terrestrial horizon. Among the crowd of divinities 
we shall recognize immediately on plate XXVII, above 
the right shoulder of Buddha, his faithful companion 
Vajrapani, to whom also by certain texts a part is given 
in the story, he being made to intervene in order to has- 
ten the denouement Q. The feminine figure facing him 

(i) On this updsaka and updsiM information taken from the Vinaya of the 
Mula-Sarvastivadins will be found in the already quoted article of M. Ed. 
HuBER (B. £. F. E.-O., VI, 1906, pp. 9 sqq.). 

(2) For this title given to Utpalavarna, cf. for example, the commentary 
on the Dhammapada, ed. Faosb0ll, p. 213. 

(3) For this impartiality cf. Divyavadana, p. 146, 1. 23. 

(4) Cf. above, p. 164, note i. 

(5) According to the Divydvaddna (pp. 163-164) the yaksha-sendpati who, 
understanding the impossibility of otherwise overcoming the obstinacy of 
the Tirthyas, raises a violent storm to disperse them, is called Pancika; but 
the Bodhisattvdvad&m-Mpalatd calls him Vajrapini (XIII, 57). Only we must 


would perplex us greatly, did not her crown of towers 
signalize her at once as the incarnate nagara-devatd of Qra- 
vasti, an edified witness of the miracle which will hence- 
forth assure her fame ; it is in no other form that, for example, 
the native town of Buddha is seen on other Greco-Bud- 
dhist bas-reliefs ('). But the most interesting feature to be 
observed is that, if we are to credit the Divydvaddna, the 
two chief divine acolytes can be no other than Brahma on 
the right of Buddha and Qakra on his left. As a matter of 
fact, on several replicas the sculptors obviously emphasize 
this identification by the aid of the usual procedures of the 
school : to the much bejewelled turban of Indra they oppose, 
as is the custom, the chignon of Brahma, or they even 
endeavour to designate the latter expressly by the indica- 
tion of a water-vessel or of a book (*). 

warn the reader that this stanza vasantatilakd, as it is given in the Bibl. 
Indica, I, v, p. 427, has no kind of plausible meaning. Prof. S. Levi has kind- 
ly restored the text for us, by the help of the Tibetan translation on the 
opposite page. It should read (the corrections are indicated by the italics) : 

Atrintare Bhagavatah satatam vipaksiw 
Sarvatmani ksapanakaw avadharya Yaksah | 
/Titpto^ravii/avrtavarsavarai^ cakara 
Vidrivya randhracaranan bhuvi Vajrapinih |1 

We should translate : « In the meanwhile, perceiving that the Sectarians 
persisted in remaining obstinate adversaries of the Blessed One, the Yaksha 
Vajrapini, raising a violent storm accompanied by rain, dispersed them, 
and forced them to seek a shelter in the hollows in the earth ». 

(i) See Art g.-h. du Gandh., figg. 183-184 a, and p. 360. 

(2) Cf. the procedure of distinction employed ibid., figg. 152, 1J4-156, 
164 fl (cycle of the nativity), 197 (march to Vajrasana), 212 (invitation to 
the preaching), 243 (preaching to the Trayastrimgas), 264 (descent from 
heaven), where we know that we have to deal at the same time with ^akra, 
the Indra of the Gods (cf. fig. 246), and with Brahmd, the Qihhin. In the 
particular case with which we are concerned their positions are at times 
exchanged from one stele to another (cf. plate XXIV with plate XXV and 
p. 170, note 2), either because on this point the tradition was uncertain or 


It would take too long to enter further into the details 
of each variant; and besides on this point we may refer to 
the notices which accompany the plates : only, we should 
wish to be allowed to make three remarks of a general 
character. The first bears on the importance which already 
in the school of Gandhara we have been led to attribute to 
the laksham, or sign of recognition : it seems indeed that 
here we find a fresh proof of the antiquity and wide exten- 
sion of this proceeding ('). In this very case it is a lotus 
with a stem rising from the ground or from the waters, that 
serves as a distinctive mark for a whole series of monu- 
ments ands has allowed us to follow the series for more 
than a thousand years, through the four corners of the 
peninsula. It is quite exceptional that, as on plate XXV, 2, 
the peduncle of the flower should be hidden and its peri- 
carp covered by a cushion : and, if the artists of western 
India prefer that Buddha should cause his teaching to be 
heard from the height of a throne (simhdsana), the typical 
padma is retained at least as a stool for his feet. Henceforth, 
therefore, we may rank this « lotus emergent and usually 
attended by two Nagarajas », to use heraldic terms, 
side by side with, for example, the « wheel flanked by two 
gazelles, either back to back or face to face » , among the 
specific symbols of the great events of Buddha's life. In the 
second place, this identification seems to us to confirm 
another rule which we had thought ourselves in a position 
to lay down, and in accordance with which there is scarcely 
any Gandharian bas-rehef, however passive and motionless 
the characters therein may be, wich does not, even under 

because there had been a confusion, which is always easy, between the right 
and the left of the statue and those of the spectator. 
(1) Artgr.-b. du Gandh., p. 607. 


the most strictly iconographic appearances, conceal the 
story of some episode in the legend of Buddha. We shall 
be the more readily excused for recalling the fact, inas- 
much as we are the most to blame for having once ranged 
among the simply decorative motives, in default of find- 
ing a better place, several of the stelae which now assume 
for us a definite meaning and one of legendary value, 
as being versions of the « great miracle » at Qravasti('). 
But at the same time — and this third observation is 
the most important of all — it is to be feared that we 
must relinquish the idea of indubitably distinguishing, 
in the whole repertory of the Greco-Buddhist school, an 
iconolatric group of « Buddha between two Bodhisattvas ». 
As far as concerns the great scene of the descent from 
heaven at Sarika^ya, the texts had already forced us to recog- 
nize in the two divine acolytes of the Master the gods 
Brahma and Qakra. Here again ought not the same evidence 
to constrain us to accept the same identification? Then 
will disappear our last hope of discovering by the side of 
the Blessed One an Indo-Greek Avalokitecvara or a Mafi- 
ju?ri, as plates XXIV, i and XXVI, i seem specially to invite 
us to do. In fact, all that we can say is that we beUewe we 
discern already on these stelae in the type, head-dress, attri- 
butes, meditative or pensive pose of the attendants the sug- 
gestion of the procedure which later served to represent, 
and to differentiate from one another, the great Mahaya- 
nic divinities : but methodically we may not go further and 
light-heartedly oppose to the peremptory assertions of the 
texts any quasi-gratuitous conjectures. Even the sign of the 
urnd, so distinctly marked on the forehead of the acolytes 
in plates XXIV, i and XXV, 2 fails to induce us to lay 

(i) Cf. ibid., figg. 76-79 and p. 479. 


aside this prudent reserve. So long as the sculptures do not 
furnish us with an image bearing a written inscription, the 
verbal statements of the Scriptures will always take prece- 
dence over their mute velleities of expression. Likewise, the 
more we advance in famiharity with the old artists of the 
north-west of India, the nearer are we to believing that the 
names of Avalokitecvara and Mafijuf ri were as strange to 
their thought as to that of the compilers of the Divyavaddna 
and the Mahdvastu. 


It will be felt how far this question passes beyond the 
hmits of the present article, and we will not here insist upon 
it further. All that remains to ask ourselves, in order to 
complete the study of the representations of the mahd-prd- 
tihdrya, is whether it was represented or not on the most 
ancient monuments of central India. Now it seems indeed 
that the old native school had already essayed in regard to 
it one of those conventional and summary pictures of 
which it possessed the secret. The pillar of the southern 
entrance in the railing of the stupa of Barhut has three 
of its faces decorated. Of the three upper bas-reliefs ('),the 
first represents, we beUeve, by the symbol of the Bodhi- 
tree, the « perfect illumination » ; the second, by the symbol 
of the stupa, the parinirvdm; the third, by the symbol of 
the garlanded wheel, the « great miracle ». This, at least, is 
suggested by two inscriptions on the last named, from 
which we are not certain that all the admissible inferences 
have hitherto been drawn (see pi. XXVIII, 2). At the bottom 
a king issues from his capital, mounted in his quadriga : the 

(i) Cunningham, Stupa of Barhut, pi. XIII. 


epigraph, by informing us that he is called « king Prase- 
najit of Kogala », gives us at the same time the name of the 
town and localizes the scene at ^ravasti. Now this king and 
his suite are going in the direction of a building of impos- 
ing appearance, which shelters a wheel surmounted by a 
parasol, and bearing a heavy garland suspended from its 
nave. For all students of ancient Buddhist art the allegory 
is clear : but, for fear the spectator should conceive the 
slightest hesitation, a second helpful inscription informs 
him that it is indeed « the wheel of the Law of the Blessed 
One » which is represented. The symbol, therefore, if 
translated into the style of the later schools, is the exact 
equivalent of an image of an instructing, and consequently 
converting, Buddha. On each side, standing in a devout 
attitude with joined hands, is a personage in splendid 
lay costume, such as India has always indifferently con- 
ceived its kings or its gods ('). Accordingly it is impossible 
for us in the presence of this group not to think of Buddha 
attended by Indra and Brahma, in the presence of this edifice 
not to think of the mandapa constructed for the purpose of 
the « great miracle ». Cunningham, with his accustomed 
instinct, has already connected with this bas-relief the 
passage in the Divydvaddna translated by Burnouf, which 
does precisely on this occasion make the king of Ko^ala 
betake himself « in his good chariot » to the presence of 
the Master : but he did not follow out the identification to the 
end Q. In truth, we see no reason for stopping half way. 

(i) For some quite similar images of gods on this same balustrade of 
Barhut see also Cunningham, loc. cit., pi. XVII. 

(2) Ibid., pp. 90-91. — It will be noticed that the visit of Ajita^atru to 

Buddha, which on the pillar of the western entrance forms a pendant to this 

one, is likewise of importance from a legendary point of view (ibid, , pi. XVI 

and p. 89). 



Evidently it was not a question of an ordinary visit, but of 
a meeting having a solemn character. We know from a sure 
source, namely the inscriptions, the exact locality of the 
scene, that is ^ravasti, the capital of Ko^ala, and the names 
of the two principal actors, Prasenajit and the Blessed 
One ; the bas-relief shows us the devout ardour of the one, 
and suggests the converting gesture of the other ; finally, 
the accessory details of the two attendants standing beside 
the invisible Buddha and the great hall which shelters him 
harmonize equally well with the traditions relative to the 
« great miracle » . We shall not escape the conclusion that 
such indeed was the subject which the sculptor had propos- 
ed to himself. The counter-proof is easy : let us imagine 
that precisely this task had been set him ; granted the cus- 
tomary procedure of the old school, we do not see how he 
could have accomplished it otherwise ('). 

Thus we should end by restoring to this subject of the 
mahd-prdtihdrya the sphere which legitimately belongs to it 
and which until now had been too parsimoniously mea- 
sured out. We are now in a position to sketch its history 
from the earliest to the last surviving monuments. Treat- 
ed allegorically — and with good reason — by the old 
native school, it is not long in utiHzing for its own advan- 
tage the type of Buddha created by Indo-Greek art. From 

(i) Agaia an interesting replica of our plate XXVIII, 2 will be found on 
plate XXXI, I, of Cunningham. We should be quite willing to connect with 
it the representations of wheels on pillars, like that of plate XXXIV, 4 (cf. 
atSanchi, Fergusson, Tree and Serpent Worship, pi. XLll, i). Perhaps it would 
even be necessary to see a reference to the mdha-prdtihdrya in the wheel 
which, according to the evidence of Fa-hien and Hiuan-tsang, surmounted 
one of the two columns raised at the entrance to the Jetavana. 


the outset it adopts that mudrd of instruction (') and espe- 
cially that particular lakshana of the lotus with a stem, both 
of which it will retain as characteristic signs from end to 
end of its evolution. Under its most restricted aspect, as at 
Barhut, it counts only two attendant divinities : but on 
other replicas these latter multiply themselves and mingle 
with apparitions of Buddhas. It is chiefly these latter 
that are retained by the stelae of Benares, and, after their 
example, by the later productions from the basin of the 
Ganges, whilst western India to the very end reserves the 
best place for the divine acolytes. At the same time, the 
composition, which had finally on the vast walls of Ajanta 
attained a disproportionate development, returns, with 
the ultimate decadence, to the soberness of its commence- 
ments. All being taken into account, without going 
outside the Indian publications, and leaving aside the 
already identified miniatures of the manuscripts, we pro- 
pose henceforward to inscribe the rubric of the « great mi- 
racle of ^ravasti » under the following reproductions : 

1. Barhut, pi. XXVIII, 2 ; Stupa of Bar hut, pi. XXXI, i, 
perhaps XXXIV, 4, etc. (Ancient Indian style, 2°'' century 
B. C); 

2. Gandhara : pll. XXIV-XXVIII, i ; /. Ind. Art. and Ind., 
no. 62, 1898, pi. 8, 2—Anc. Mon. India, pi. 92 (in the middle); 
Arch. Survey Report, 1903-1904, pi. LXVIII, h andc; Artg.-h. 
du Gandhdra, fig. 78 ; (with an exceptional mudrd) J. I. A. I., 
no. 69, 1900, fig. 24= Buddh. Art in India, fig. 112, and /. 
R.A.S.,Oct. i9o8,pl.VI,3(Indo-Greekstyle, i^' and 2"'* cen- 
turies A. D.); 

3. Benares : pi. XIX; Anc. Mon. India, pi. 68, i (in the 

(i) For the only two exceptions known to us cf. p. 170, n. 2, and 172, 

n. I. 


left upper compartment); (on the lateral borders) 67, 3, and 
68, 2 (Gupta Style; 4*''-6''' centuries) ; 

4. Ajanta : pU. XX-XXI, i; Paintings of Ajantd, 'pW. 15, 
24, 39 ; Arch. Survey. West. India, IV, pi. XXXVII, 2 (Calu- 
kya style, 6'^-f^ centuries); 

5. Magadha : pi. XXIII, i ; Et. sur I'Iconogr. bouddh. de 
rinde, I, fig. 28 (Pala style, 8"'-io"^ centuries) ; 

6. Konkan : pi. XXIII, 2; Arch. Surv. West. India, IV, 
pi. XLIII, I, and fig. 22 = Buddh. Art in India, fig. 60; 
Cave Temples of India,pl LVI (Rashtrakuta style, S'^-io"* cen- 

Henceforward the picture of the mahd-prdtihdrya would 
not be missing from any school : we await only that 
of Mathura. This is just what might be expected from 
the importance assumed by the episode in the legend, 
as a compulsory prodigy of every « Blessed One » 
worthy of his name. It would have been too aston- 
ishing, considering the constant parallelism between the 
two forms, written and figured, of the tradition, if no 
ancient illustration had corresponded on this point to the 
texts. Our hypothesis fills a real gap; and it is only just 
that « the great miracle of ^ravasti » should advanta- 
geously, as far as the number of known repHcasis concern- 
ed, bear comparison with the three other great scenes from 
the teaching career of Buddha. 

Why then — and this is the last point on which we are 
conscious of owing the reader some explanation — why has 
it been so tardily and so laboriously recognized, whilst its 
three pendants were identified long ago and at first sight? 
To this question we may reply, first of all, that the mahd-prd- 
tihdrya, especially in the preaching form which had pre- 
vailed, does not lend itself, as we have abundantly experi- 
enced, to anything more than a picture almost void of move- 
ment, if not of picturesqueness ; to effect its instant recogni- 


tion , it has neither the exceptional role of the monkey or the 
elephant, nor the characteristic decoration of the triple 
ladder ; and here we have, doubtless, an excellent reasdn. 
There is room, in our opinion, for adding another. We are 
so accustomed to utiHze the archaeological information of 
the Chinese pilgrims in India, that we no longer think of 
being grateful to them for it; in order to measure the value 
of their help, we have to be once without it. That is the case 
on this occasion : Fa-hien and Hiuan-tsang, so explicit as 
regards the three other episodes, scarcely mention the one 
which interests us here. The places where ^ravasti and the 
Jetavana had been, the favourite sojourn of the Master, evok- 
ed too many remembrances pell-mell for the « Great 
Miracle » not to be swamped in the crowd of those which 
on all sides, through the mouths of the guides, solicited 
their devout interest. We must likewise reckon with the fact 
that the story of the rivalry between the Master and the 
Tirthyas was on the spot inevitably entangled with the 
calumny of the novice Cinca, or with the assassination of the 
courtesan Sundari : and these dramatic stories could not fail 
to encroach upon the miracle of Buddha, which was after 
all so neutral and quasi-passive. Thus, when the pilgrims 
finally arrive at the temple which marked the locahty of the 
purely doctrinal and magical conflict, they both specify 
indeed that a statue of the Blessed One was seated (') there ; 

(i) We believe, in fact, after careful reading, that the tnahd-caitya of 
Qravasti, marking the locality of Buddha's victory over the other chiefs of 
sects, was the temple (vihdra), 60 or 70 feet high, which Fa-hien and 
Hiuan-tsang both saw and mentioned at the west (that is to say, at the 
right) of the road leading to the south of the town towards the Jetavana, 
about 60 or 70 (Chinese, therefore double) paces in front of the eastern 
gate of the park, opening from the same side upon the same road (trans. 
Beal, I, p. XLVii, and II, p. 10 ; Watters, I, p. 393). It will be noticed that 
this situation corresponds fairly well with the indications of the texts (cf. 


but they both forget to tell us on what kind of seat and 
accompanied by what attendants. Accordingly, do not ask 
why the connection between the narratives and the repre- 
sentations of the « Great Miracle » has been so tardily real- 
ized. Cease hkewise to be astonished that we are still even 
at the present time posed by the question whether the two 
divine acolytes retained to the very last (as we are certain 
they did in the representation of the « Descent from Hea- 
ven ») their names of Brahma and Qakra, or whether 
they ended by transforming themselves, in the eyes of the 
faithful, into Bodhisattvas, and, in that case, at what mo- 
ment the transformation took place. Fa-hien and Hiuan- 
tsang tell us nothing concerning this. Onefeels howvaluable 
their testimony would have been to us, by reason of its 
mean date as also of the central situation of the country 
from which they would have borrowed its elements, form- 
ing a bridge between the ancient works of the north- 
west and the later, but identified, productions of eastern 
India. If we have been able ultimately to dispense with 
it, this is because the stele recently discovered atSarnathand 
immediately published by Mr. Marshall put into our hands 
precisely the missing middle of the conducting wire, and 
thenceforward all that we have had to do has been to follow 
its direction, downwards to the disappearance, upwards to 
the sources of Buddhist art. For this let us thank the 
Archaeological Survey ! 

above, p. 149, n. 2) : it seems that it is expedient to set aside in its favour 
the « preaching hall » built by Prasenajit, which was to be found in the 
centre of the town, and the stupa next to that of Qariputra, which is men- 
tioned by Hiuan-tsang only. As regards the latter, Walters states that he did 
not know where to place the « tope » of the « great miracle » ; he forgets 
that the eight great caityas are not necessarily all stupas; we know, for 
example, that that of the Sambodhi at Bodh-Gaya is a temple, and the same 
is explicity told us by Fa-hien and Hiuan-tsang concerning the Devdvatdra. 

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Pl:ue XX was made from a photograph taken as well as we could 
manage at Ajand, in September 1897, in the gloom of Cave VII. It 
represents a portion of the left wall of the vestibule of the sanctuary. 
We may compare with it a drawing published by Fergusson and Bur- 
gess, Cave Temples of India , pi. XXXI. 

We limit ourselves to borrowing a description from Dr. Burgess, 
Notes on the Bauddha Rock Temples of Ajanid (Bombay, 1879), p. 45 : 
« The sides of the antechamber are entirely covered with small Buddhas, 
sculptured in rows of five to seven each, sitting or standing on lotuses, 
with lotus leaves between them. The stalk of the lowest central lotus 
is upheld by two kneeling figures wi'h royal head-dresses canopied by 
the many-headed ndga behind each; on the left are a kneeling figure 
and two standing Buddhas, and on the right a Buddha is behind the 
ndga, and behind him are three worshippers with presents... » 

The diversity and alternation oft he mudrds will be noticed; true, it 
is on this wall that the attitudes are the most varied, which is not 
saying much. For the identification of the two Ndga-rdjas with Nanda 
and Upananda cf. above, p. 161. 




Cf. pp. 164-5, 166-7. 

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I — The stele of plate XXV, i , which comes from Loriyan-Tangai 
and is preserved in the Calcutta museum, measures in height one 
metre; it has been reproduced already by Dr. Burgess [J. Ind. Art 
andlnd., no. 69, 1900, fig. 25 =: Buddh. ^Art in India, fig. 152) and 
in tArtg.-b. du Gandhdm, fig. 76. 

Here we restrict ourselves to noting the general disposition of the 
stele in the form of a vihdra (cf. ibid., pp. 129 and 138), the fitting 
of the tenon into the mortise at the base {ibid., p. 191), the little 
columns in the PersepoUtan or Corinthian style {ibid., pp. 227 and 234), 
the dog-tooth ornaments, the balconies with figures of women in 
the different compartments (fiza!., pp. 223 -224^ the Cupid garland- 
bearers of the lower framework {ibid., pp. 239-240), the lion-headed 
brackets similar to those of plate XXV, 2, etc. 

A teaching Buddha, seated on a raised lotus, is outlined against an 
oblong aureole and a round nimbus : above his head, a twisted gar- 
land hangs under a double streamer; under his right foot, which is 
sole upwards, a knot of stuff forms a round protuberance, which is also 
to be seen on plate XXV, 2, but which on the following plates is only 
a pufi'ed out plait. The two Buddhas in the top corners, seated in medi- 
tation on inverted lotuses and under little vihdras, seem to form an 
integral part of the composition; perhaps the case is the same with the 
three others lodged under the two-storied arch of the gable ; in any 
case, the group at the top recalls by its arrangement the other great 
aerial miracle, that of the Descent from Heaven. 

This time the two divine attendants are seated on rattan seats. The 
one on the (Buddha's) right has, unfortunately, his face and left hand 
broken ; his feet are crossed in an attitude often reproduced later in 
China and Japan. The turbaned attendant on the left, leaving his sandal 
on the ground (cf. ^rch. Surv. Rep., 1903-1904, pi. LXVIII, b and c), 
has bent up his right leg and must, as on plate XXV, 2, have rested his 
forehead on his hand, while at the same time he holds in his left the 
same looped object as does the right-hand attendant on plate XXIV, 2, 
— from the analogy of some newly discovered statues we should 
guess a bending purse. 

In the bottom corners two kneeling worshippers, a monk and a lay 
female devotee — strangers, it seems, to the scene and only inserted 
for a purely decorative purpose — are, perhaps, the donors, perhaps 
two of the usual attendants. (Cf. above, pp. 173, note i, and 173-4). 

II. — The original of plate XXV, 2, measuring in height m. 0,45, 
comes likewise from Loriyan-Tangai and is preserved in the Calcutta 
museum. It has already been published by Dr. Burgess ij. Ind. ^rt 
and Ind., no. 69, 1900, fig. 22 = Buddh. ^rt in India, fig. 147). 

Here the lotus which serves as a seat for the teaching Buddha is 
supported by the two Ndga-rdjas, Nandaand Upananda, who are visible 
only as far as the waist. The one on the right (in relation to Buddha) 
is of a curious type of Brahmanic ascetic, with his beard and volumi- 
nous chignon; he holds in his right hand an object which reminds 
us very much of the dolphin similarly carried by certain of his congen- 
ers (cf. ^rl g.-b. du Gandhdra, fig. 126), but which, in fact, seems to 
be nothing but the head of a serpent coming out of his neck. As for 
the one on the left, no less strange with his moustache and his striped 
hair, we cannot say whether he holds in his left hand a bent paddle or 
a hooded serpent (cf. .Arch. Surv. Rep , 1^0^-1904, pi. LXVIII, b). On 
either side of the Nigas kneel a monk and a nun, perhaps Maudgal 
yayana and Utpalavarna (cf. above, p. 174). 

The two divine attendants are again seated on rattan seats ; both 
rest their elbows symmetrically on their raised knees, while their 
fortheads, marked with the Arnd, recline upon the tip of one finger : we 
know that this pensive pose has been ascribed by Sino-Japanese art to 
Avalokite^vara. The attendant on the right, who, like Brahnii, has no 
head-dress other than his hair, holds in his right hand the book (in the 
form of a palm-leaf manuscript) which will be one of the attributes ot 
Manju^ri ; the turbaned one on the left holds in his left hand an object 
which, from its granular appearance and the fold which it makes at 
the bottom, we believe to be again a purse, fastened by a kind of clasp 
in the form of a medallion and analogous to those in the hands of the 
attendants on the left of pi. XXIV, 2 and right of pi. XXV, i , but 
which on plate LXVIII, c, of the KArch. Surv. Rep., i^0}-i<)0 4 '^ 
plainly a lotus. 

To conclude, let us note the curious porch which shelters the 
three persons, and which, trapezoidal in the centre and arched at the 
sides, rests on brackets decorsited whh lions' heads. As usual, birds are 
represented on the roofs. (Cf. above, p. 171.) 




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The original of this plate, the exact origin of which is unknown, is 
preserved in the museum at Lahore (no. 572), where we photographed 
it; it measures m. 0,85 in height. As yet it has been published only by 
Dr. Burgess (/. Ind. ^rt and Ind , no. 62, 1898, pi. 8, i). 

Only the middle part of the stele is devoted to the Mahd-prdtihdrya. 
Under the large lotus two persons, whose bodies are only half seen, but 
who are not otherwise characterized, and who are leaning back to 
look at the Mister, must be the two traditional Ndga-rdjas. Above the 
head of the great central Buddha, which is of disproportionate size, 
two little genii, flying without wings, hold up a crown of jewellery 
under ornamental foliage. On each side appear two other small figures 
of Buddha, analogous to those on plate XXV, i, and placed respec- 
tively beneath a Bodhisattva in the costume of a Buddha (cf. pi. XXVI, 
2) surrounded by a radiating halo, and beneath a group consisting of 
Buddha in conversation with a monk. The two usual attendants, stand- 
ing on lotuses with bent stems, hold up their garlands (cf. 
pll. XXVI and XXVIII, i). Above them, on the right of Buddha, 
is Vajrapani, bearing his thunderbolt, and having on his head a tiara 
often worn by Indra (cf. ^rt g.-b. du Gandh., fig. 246) ; and opposite 
to him, wearing a turreted crown, the nagara-devatd of ^rivasti (cf. 
above, pp. 174 5). About ten other gods are seated in various attitudes, 
all resting on lotuses, except those (who also have haloes) on the first 
row at the bottom (the four LokapA'as, two of which on the right 
are damaged ; cf. pi. XXVI, 2) 

In the top panel a sort of apotheosis of the Bodhisattva corresponds 
to the transfiguration of the Buddha : the former, accompanied by 
ten persons with hiloes, is seated, with feet crossed and a water-flask in 
his hand, under a parasol, on a low rattan seat covered with a cushion. 
From numerous analogies, and notably that of a bas-relief in the 
Louvre, where this scene immediately follows that of the Nativity 
{y4rtg.-b. du Gandh , fig. 164), we seem to recognize the samcodana 
of the BjdhisattvaSiddhartha(Ln///fl vistara, chap. XIII), a pendant to 
\ht adhyeshana of Buddha [ibid., chap. XXV). The point to be noted 
here is the close connection between the types and attitudes of the 
gods in thi upper and low.r scenes. On each side of the Bodhisattva are 
thj same garland-bearers on lotuses; at the twj bottom corners are 
the attendants in the same attitude as on plate XXV, 2; the first atten- 
dant on the left at the same level is turning round to express to his neigh- 
bour his admiration, as on plate XXVI, 2, etc. 

At the bottom is depicted the adoration of the pdtra, or alms-vase of 
Buddha, placed on a throne (cf. Art g.-b. du Gandh., p. .^19) and 
surrounded probably by donors. 














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The Six-Tusked Elephant : 

An attempt at a chronological classification of the 
various versions of the Shaddanta-Jdtaka C). 

The close relation which exists between the written and 
the figured forms of the Buddhist tradition has no longer 
to be proved. It is known by experience. Rare indeed are 
those narratives of Buddha's miracles whereof no illustra- 
tion has yet been discovered ; still more rare are the images 
which do not at once find their commentary in the texts 
already published. And thus we have naturally come to speak 
of the help which, on numerous details of exegesis, the 
texts and monuments reciprocally lend Q). All the same, 
it is to be observed that until now we have principally 
made use of the first to explain the second. In fact the 
two sorts of documents seem to be unequally matched : 
and the muteness of the stones will never, in the estima- 
tion of philologists, be able to equal (as regards the extent 
and variety of the information which can be derived from 
them) the verbosity of the writings. However, there is one 
point in which the sculptures have an advantage over the 
manuscripts, namely the permanent fixity of their testi- 
mony. Such as they were when they left the hands of the 

(i) Extract from Melanges Sylvain Levi, Paris, 191 1. 

(2) Cf. Une lisle indienne des Actes du Buddha in the Annuaire de V£cole prd' 
tique des Hautes Etudes, Section des Sciences religieuses, 1908, a paper of too 
technical a character to be translated here. 



workman, such are they still to-day ; or at least, if they are 
likewise subject to mutilations and susceptible, strictly 
speaking, of being counterfeited, no attempt at rifacimento 
or interpolation, that scourge of Indian hteratures, could 
in their case pass unperceived. Guaranteed against the 
insidious address of the diasceuasts, they are equally so 
against the individual fancy of their own authors, who 
are forcibly restrained by the material conditions of their 
technique. It results from this that they can be arranged 
with perfect assurance in chronological order and dated 
with a sufficient approximation. It is in this sense that 
we are able to say with Fergusson, that « in such a coun- 
try as India, the chisels of her sculptors are ...immeasu- 
rably more to be trusted than the pens of her authors(*) ». 
It is in virtue of this advantage that the figured versions 
seem to us able in their turn to render some service to 
the written accounts of the same legend. In short, after 
having so often apphed the texts to the interpretation of the 
monuments, we should like on this occasion to essay the 
application of the monuments to the chronology of the 


For this purpose we will direct our attention to a cele- 
brated legend, which, however, it may not be useless brief- 
ly to recall to the reader, that of the « elephant with six tusks » 
(Skt. Shaddanta, Pali Chaddanta, Chinese Lieu ya siang). 
Of course, this marvellous animal was none other than one 
of the innumerable past incarnations of our Buddha; and 

(i) Fergusson, History of Indian and Eastern Architecture, Preface to the 
first edition, 1876, p. viii {z^ edit., 1910, p. x). 


he lived, happy and wise, in the company of his two wives 
and of his troop of subjects in a hidden valley of the 
Himalayas. However, the second wife, wrongly beHeving 
herself slighted for love of the first, gives herself up to 
death in an access of jealous fury, making a vow one day 
to avenge herself upon her husband for his supposed want 
of affection. In the course of her succeeding existence she 
becomes, thanks to some remnant of merit, queen of 
Benares, and possesses the gift of remembering her pre- 
vious birth. She astutely obtains from the king permission 
to despatch against her former husband the most skilful 
hunter in the country, with orders to kill him and bring 
back his tusks as a proof of the success of his mission. The 
man does, in fact, succeed at great risk of his life in strik- 
ing the noble elephant with a deadly arrow. But the soul 
of the Bodhisattva is inaccessible to any evil passion : not 
content with sparing his murderer, he voluntarily makes a 
present of the tusks whereof the man had come to rob him. 
When the hunter finally brings back to the queen this mourn- 
ful trophy, she feels her heart break at the sight of it. 

Such is this touching story, reduced to its essential and 
most generally reported features : for it is known under 
multiple forms. We know, in particular, that it appears in 
the Pali collection of the Jdtaka (n° 514). Since 1895 
M. L. Peer has compared with this text, point for point, 
the Sanskrit account in the Kalpadrumdvaddna and two Chi- 
nese editions, taken, the one from the Lieu tu tsi king 
(Nanjio, n° 143) and the other from the Tsapao tsang king 
(Nanjio, n° 1329); but, with perhaps excessive prudence, 
he was careful not to draw any conclusions from this 
detailed comparison (')• More recently the translation of 

(i) Journal Asiatique, Jan.-Feb. 1895. For the version of the Kalpadrumd- 


the Sutrdlahkdra of Acvaghosha, so excellently rendered by 
M. Ed, Huber from the Chinese of Kumarajiva, has made 
accessible to us a new and most important version ('). 
Finally, a publication by M. Ed. Chavannes has placed at the 
disposal of Indianists generally both a complete transla- 
tion of the two texts quoted by M. L. Peer, and also a 
translation of the corresponding passage of the Ta che tu 
hen (Nanjio, n° ii 69), ascribed to Nagarjuna Q. So 
much for the literary sources of our study ('). If we now 
turn to the works of art, we observe that we have been no 
less fortunate in having preserved to us at the same time a 
medaUion from Barhut (*), another from Amaravati Q, a 
lintel from Sanchi C), a fragment of a frieze from 
GandharaQ, and finally two frescoes from Ajanta, the one 

vaddna, cf. the Sanskrit Ms. 27, fol. 232 v°-240 v° of the Biblioth^que 
Nationale and Raj. Mitra, The Sanskrit Buddhist Literature of Nepal, pp. 301- 
303. — We refuse to take into account the commentary of vv. 26-27 of the 
Dhammapada, which, as Mr. Peer also remarks, has scarcely any feature in 
common with the Shaddanta legend, 
(i) Ed. HuBEa, Sutrdlahkdra, Paris, 1908, ch. XIV, n° 69, pp. 403 sqq. 

(2) Ed. Chavannks, Cinq cents contes et apologues extraits du Tripitaka chi- 
nois, three volumes (1911). The story n° 28 (I, p. loi) represents the pas- 
sage in question from the Lieu tu tsi king; the two other extracts will appear 
in vol. IV. Strictly one might connect with it the story n° 344, which also 
presents the characteristic trait of the gift of the tusks, but in quite differ- 
ent surroundings. We are happy to take this opportunity of thanking 
M. Chavannes, whose great kindness permitted us to make use of the relevant 
pages of his work prior to publication. 

(3) As to no 49 (not yet published in the Bibl. Indicd) of the Bodhisattvd- 
vaddnakalpalatd, we cite it merely for record : for this narrative is missing 
from the only ms. (Sanscrit 8) of the Biblioth^que Nationale (see below, 
p. 204, n. i). 

(4) A. Cunningham, Stupa of Barhut, 1879, pl- XXVI, 6. 

(5) J. Burgess, Buddhist Stupas of Amaravati and Jaggayyapeta, 1887, 
pi. XIX, I . 

(6) Rear face of the middle lintel of the southern gate; cf. J. Fergusson, 
Tree and Serpent Worship, 2^ ed., 1873, pl- VIII. 

(7) Art greco-bouddhique du Gandhdra. fig. 138 (fragment of the counter- 


in Cave X, and the other in Cave XVII (*). The identifi- 
cation of these bas-reliefs and of these paintings is fortu- 
nately no longer matter for reconsideration, except, 
perhaps, in detailQ. From the very fact that the meaning 
of these images has once for all been recognized, they have 
taken their place side by side with the texts in the capacity 
of independent and trustworthy witnesses to the divers 
forms which the legend has successively assumed. Alto- 
gether we find ourselves in possession of no less than 
twelve versions, of which six are provided by art and six by 
literature. These twelve versions are, if we may say so, so 
many successive « stages » of the tradition : the precise 
problem is to classify these various stages in their chrono- 
logical order. 

We must admitthat,if we were reduced solely to the his- 
torical data relative to the texts, the enterprise would be 
almost desperate. It is easy to contest the orthodox belief, 
according to which the stanzas of the Jdtaka all fell from the 
lips of Buddha himself; it is much less easy to replace it by 
more satisfactory assertions concerning the exact time of 
the composition of these gdthds, which are certainly very 
ancient, more ancient at times than Buddhism. Their com- 
mentary (atthakathd), according to the confession even of 
the monks of Ceylon, has existed under its present form 

march of a staircase, derived from the hill of Karam^r; Lahore Museum, 
n° 1 1 56). 

(i) Ajanti, Cave X : J, Griffiths, The Paintings in the Buddhist Cave- 
temples of AjantA, 1896, I, pi. 41 and fig. 21 ; cf. J. Bdrgess, Notes on the 
Buddha Rock-temples of A jantS,, 1879, pi. VII, 2, and Arch. Survey of Western 
India, IV. pi. XVI. — Cave XVII, Griffiths, ihid. fig. 73 and pi. 63. 

(2) Cf. for example, infra, p. 194, n. i and p. 195. The majority of the 
published descriptions are in error in speaking of more than one hunter : 
it is, of course, question of the same individual, represented in various atti- 
tudes and at different moments. 


only since the V"' century A. D. ; but in their view this 
could only be the translation into PaU of a prose which 
was quasi-contemporaneous with the verses ('). Of the 
Kalpadrumdvaddna all that we can say without impru- 
dence is that this versified amplification does not bear the 
marks of high antiquity. As to the dates at which the Chi- 
nese translations were made and which, according to the 
information kindly communicated by M. Chavannes, extend 
from the end of the IIP'' century to that of the V* of our 
era, they naturally can furnish us only with a terminus ad 
quern. Thus, as far as the texts are concerned, practically 
every extrinsic element of chronological classification is 
lacking. Happily we are a little better served, as regards the 
images. Each of these forms part of a whole to which 
either votive inscriptions or technical considerations permit 
us to assign a determinate epoch. It is established that the 
bas-reliefs of Barhut and of Sanchi go back to the II""* or?' 
century B. C. Q. Those of Gandhara and of Amaravati are 
by common accord attributed to the T' or IP'* of our 
era Q. It is to the same epoch at the latest that, on the 
strength of the inscriptions and the style, Messrs. Burgess 
and Griffiths ascribe the archaic paintings of Cave X at 
Ajanta : on the other hand, the same authorities bring the 
decoration of Cave XVII down to the beginning of the 
Vl* century (*). Certainly these are only approximate 
dates : but it is a good thing to have even so much, and we 
must consider ourselves fortunate, if we succeed, by using 

(i) Cf. Rhys Davids, Buddhist Birth-Stories, 1880, Introduction, pp. i-ii, 

(2) See above, pp. 4, 34, 67. 

(3) Cf. Art greco-houddhique du Gandhara, p. 42. 

(4) For the « Cave X » see Griffiths, loc. cit., pp. 5 and 32; Borgess, 
A/o/«, p. 50; for the « Cave XVII « Griffiths, ihid., p. 5 ; Burgess, ibid., 
p. 61 (cf. p. 57). 


these figured monuments as so many land-marks, in dating 
some of our texts with a similar degree of approximation. 
Nay, were we not able to call to our aid these hitherto 
unutilized auxiliaries, it would be wiser to surrender in 
advance every attempt at historical classification. 


Certainly we should not for that reason remain com- 
pletely disarmed before the confused mass of these often 
divergent versions; and it would be our part to introduce 
— by recourse, for want of anything better, to some inter- 
nal principle of coordination — an order at least theoretical. 
It is indeed the favourite occupation of folklorists thus to 
draw up genealogical trees of what they have decided to 
call « families of tales ». But, if the enterprise is possible, 
and the pastime permissible, it goes without saying that 
the result can be of value only upon a double condition, 
namely that we shall have known how to choose the 
topical detail which must act as main-spring for the estab- 
Ushment of the series, and that we shall have well observed 
and followed out, in the arrangement of this series, the 
natural course of human affairs. Now, in the case of the 
Shaddanta-jdtaka we are in no wise puzzled to discover at 
once the characteristic trait and the way in which to use it. 
It is a well recognized law that successive versions of narra- 
tives of this kind have a tendency continually to outdo 
each other in the direction of increasing edification. The 
usual effect of this pious inclination is, let us say in passing, 
to destroy by degrees the whole salt of the story together 
with its probability and its ingenuousness, while substitu- 
ting for it compositions whose insipidity is sweetened to 


the point of nausea. Nevertheless there is no rehgious liter- 
ature, and the Buddhist less than any other, which, its ori- 
ginal raciness once evaporated, escapes this deplorable and 
fatal invasion of convention and artificiality. Now what, in 
the theme with which we are at present concerned, is the 
essential point, wherein exactly its edification Ues? In 
order that we may not be accused of choosing arbitrarily 
and to suit the necessities of the case, let us appeal to the 
Lalitavistara, which happens to sum it up in a verse (') : at 
the time of his previous birth as the elephant Shaddanta (it 
is the Gods themselves who subsequently remind the Bodhi- 
sattva, in order to encourage him to follow his vocation) 
« thou didst sacrifice thyteethof dazzling beauty, but moral- 
ity was saved. » This is indeed the point of the story, 
which has caused it to be ranged under the category of the 
« perfection of morality » , or better, « of goodness » (^) : 
it is the surrender by the elephant of his beautiful ivory 
tusks, as sanction to the pardon granted to the hun- 
ter who has just mortally wounded him. But there is 
more than one way of returning good for evil, and it can 
be done with more or less good grace. In this particular 
case the virtuous elephant might have Hmited himself to 
allowing his enemy to work his will ; or, better, he might 
have facilitated the operation for him ; or finally, which 
quite attains to the subhme, he might have done the deed 
himself for the advantage of his murderer. It is evidently 

(i) Lalitavistara, ch. XIII, 40 ; ed. Lefmann, p. i68, 1. 9 : Parityaji te rud- 
rafubhadantd na ca tyaji (ilam. — Naturally it is this same point that is 
emphasized in the rdsumd of Hiuan-tsang to which reference will be made 
below, p. 199. 

(2) Qila-paramita : this is the classification of the introduction to the 
]diaka (ed. Fausb0ll, I, p. 45 ; trans. Rhys Davids, p. 55) and of the Lieu 
tu tsi king (Chavannes, Cinq cents contes, I, pp. 97 sqq.). 


in the order of this increasing generosity that, in theory, 
the various versions will have to be classified. 

In fact, if we recur to the written accounts which have 
been preserved to us, we remark that the protagonist adopts 
in turns one or other of these attitudes at the culminating 
moment of the narrative : « Rise, hunter, take thy knife 
(khura, Skt. kshurd), and cut from me these teeth before 
I die»,is the extent of what the elephant says in stanza 31 
of the Jdtaka ; and his interlocutor does not let him repeat 
the invitation. The Lieu tu tsi king considers it only right 
to add a little moral homily. But with the prose commen- 
tary of the Jdtaka things become more comphcated. The 
animal has attained a size so monstrous, that it is only 
with great difficulty that the man succeeds in raising himself 
up to the root of its tusks, and even there, though instead 
of the hatchet of a savage (the use of which would, in fact, 
have been disastrous to the ivory) he now uses a 
more perfect instrument, the saw (kakaca, Skt. krakaca^, he 
vainly exhausts himself with cruel efforts : his victim him- 
self must come to his aid. In order to make things more 
pathetic, the monastic editor does not recoil before the 
most flagrant contradictions. The elephant is already so 
weak that he cannot raise his silver trunk to take hold of 
the saw ; and he has to call all his senses together, in order 
to beg the hunter to give him the handle of it; after which 
— as it is generally agreed that the Bodhisattva is by his 
very nature endowed with supernatural strength — he in- 
stantly saws through his two tusks (for here (') they are 
no more in number than two), like the tender stems of a 

(i) M. L. Peer (loc. cit. p. 50 and p. 77, note i) has observed the same 
thing in the KalpadrumAvaddna, in spite of the persistence in the title of the 
traditional name of « six-toothed » ; but it is to be noticed that the word 


plantain! In the Kalpadrumdvaddna, the Ta che tu lum 
(which besides is simply a very summary resumd) and 
the Tsa pao tsang king, the hero does not even trouble him- 
self to borrow from his murderer any instrument whatever: 
he himself breaks off his tusks, according to the first two 
accounts against a rock, according to the third against a 
big tree. But to the Sutrdlankdrahdongs the palm for spon- 
taneity in the action of the martyr : it is simply « by slip- 
ping his trunk round his teeth » that this time the elephant 
pulls them out, not without pain or grief, while the hunter 
respectfully waits for him to present them expressly to 
him. Further than this it is impossible to go. 

Thus, then, we obtain a first classification of all our texts. 
Theoretically it is unassailable; practically we must not 
form any illusions as to its historical value. If notwithstand- 
ing we proceed to arrange the figured monuments accord- 
ing to the same criterion, the chances of arriving by their 
intervention at a less conjectural resuh assume immediately 
a better aspect. In fact we are not long in perceiving that the 
order thus obtained coincides exactly with that already 
forced upon us by the purely archaeological data. At the 
head of them there always comes, in its simplicity, the me- 
dallion of Barhut : on the left the hunter, having put down 
his bow and arrows, sets about cutting off the elephant's 
tusks with a rude saw Q. The latter has kindly crouched 

danta occurs in the text very frequently in the plural and not in the dual. 
On the other hand, it is unfortunately impossible to know what was said on 
this particular point by texts of which we no longer possess more than the 
Chinese translation. 

(i) See above, p. 39. Perhaps it is worth while to remark that, in the 
Barhut version, the cause of the drama is evidently the same as in the Lieu 
tu tsi kin^, that is, the gift of a lotus to the first wife, if at least, as is said in 
the Kalpadrumdvaddna, she did not receive two, one to decorate each of 
her temples. This reason is cited by the prose commentary of thejataka 


down to further the wishes of his enemy and to render his 
task less difficult (pi. XXIX, i). The case is the same in Gan- 
dhara and at Amaravati, where in addition we see represen- 
ted the episode of the hunter hiding in a ditch, in order to 
wound the elephant in the stomach with an arrow 
(pll. XXIX, 2 and XXX, i). The fresco of Cave X of 
Ajanta shows us likewise, in the words of Mr. Griffiths (Joe. 
cit., p. 32), « the huge six-tusked elephant lying down 
and a hunter engaged in cutting off the six tusks » . It is, 
as a matter of fact, six tusks — more or less distinctly sepa- 
rated, but always carefully noted — that the elephant has in 
all these representations, except that from Gandhara. But, 
when we pass on to the painting of Cave XVII, the picture 
is changed : « the huge white Elephant King » , says Mr. Grif- 
fiths (ibid., p. 37), is standing, « with only one tusk, upon 
which he rests his trunk, while a man kneels and makes 
profound obeissance before him ». In reality (cf pi. XXX, 
2), the elephant, to whom the artist no longer lends more 
than his two normal teeth, has already torn out one, and is 
about, as it is written in the Sutrdlankdra, to twist his trunk 
round the second, in order to pull that out in its turn. And 
during this time the hunter, in adoration before him, 
awaits the accomplishment of the magnanimous sacrifice. 
There is, as we see, a striking parallelism of development 
between our two kinds of documents ; and it is continued 
from one end to the other of the two series. 
If now we bring the two lists together, we obtain, always 

only as a subsidiary one :of tiie first, a very ingenious one, that he advances, 
— and according to which the great elephant one day, unintentionally, by 
shaking a fdla tree in full blossom, caused to fall on his second wife, 
who was standing to windward, only twigs of wood, dry leaves, and red 
ants, while the first, who was to the leeward, received flowers, pollen and 
green shoots — there is no more question at Barhut than in the texts, except 
this particular commentary. 


by virtue of the same principle and by the simple intercala- 
tion of the various versions (') in the position respectively 
belonging to them, the following combination : 

I. stanzas of the Pali Jataka : 

The hunter cuts off the teeth with a knife. 

II. Medallion of Barhut (11°^ century B. C.) : 

7he hunter cuts off the elephant's teeth with a saw. 

III. Medallion of AmarSvatl \ 

IV. Fresco of Ajanta, CaveX ( ist.ijnd century A. D. : 

V. Counter-step of GandhSra j 

The same version as at Barhut. 

VI. Lieu tu tsi king (trans, by Seng-houei, d. 280): 

The same version (the instrument is not specified). 

VII. Prose Commentary of the Jataka (rendered intoPSli 
in the V"' Century) : 

The elephant himself saws off his teeth. 

VIII. KalpadrumSvadana : 

The elephant himself Ireaks off his teeth against a rock. 

IX. Ta che tu luen (trans, by KumSrajIva bet'ween 402 

and 405) : 

The same version as in the Kalpadrumavadana. 

X Tsa pao tsang king (trans, by Ki-kia-ye and T'an yao 

in 472) : 

The elephant himself hreah off his teeth against a tree. 

XI. StltrdlankSra (trans, into Chinese by KumSrajiva 

towards 410) : 

The elephant himself pulls out his teeth with his trunk. 

XII. Fresco of Cave XVII of Ajantd (VIt»» century) : 

The same version as in the Sutralahkara. 

(i) It -will be noticed that the final list differs slightly from that which 
we drew up at the beginning of this study. On the one hand, we have had to 
leave aside the lintel at Sanchi, which, treated too decoratively, did not 
supply us with any information upon the precise point which we are now 
considering; on the other hand, the tenor of the commentary of the Jataka 
has shown itself so divergent from that of the text that we have had to 
divide this source into two. On the whole, then, we always reckon twelve 
versions, five artistic and seven literary. 



Such as it is, the chronological table thus obtained is at 
least worthy, of being taken into consideration ; and the 
hope occurs to us that we may have restored, in accordance 
with the natural play of the religious conscience, the differ- 
ent phases of the evolution of the story. In fact, it is not 
that we have thus arbitrarily arranged all the accessible 
documents : it is they, which, when interrogated on a defi- 
nite, capital point, have spontaneously and without any 
violence or solicitation on our part, arranged themselves 
in the order indicated above. As far as the images are 
concerned, this series is not only in conformity with their 
historic succession on the whole : it takes into account, 
in a surprising manner, their proximity as well as their 
aloofness in time, grouping together at the beginning the 
four which resemble each other, and reserving the sole 
variant to quite at the end. Then, as regards the texts, the 
impression of confidence and security, which arises from 
this spontaneous classification, would be still further 
increased, if we made our inquiry apply equally to such or 
such other accessory episodes of the legend. It is not, in- 
deed, the manner of giving the tusks only, it is a whole 
group of concomitant details, which concur in determining 
theoretically, for one who knows how to read them, the 
order of priority of the various narratives. Take the one 
which comes at the head of the list, that is, the rhymed 
account of the Jdtaka; you will observe that there every- 
thing takes place in accordance with the customary rules 
of elephant-hunting. The hunter hides in a ditch ; at the 
cry of the wounded animal all his companions flee ; remain- 
ing alone in the presence of the man, the elephant ad- 
vances to kill him : the fact that it stops on recognizing on 


him the colour of the monastic coat is the sole sign of the 
Buddhist adaptation of the ballad. Beginning with the 
Lieu tu tsi king (n° 6), it is no longer sufficient that the 
clothes of the hunter should be naturally of a reddish- 
brown, like those of that hunter Q from whom Buddha 
formerly borrowed his first monk's coat : henceforward 
the man will dehberately disguise himself as a monk, in 
order to inspire confidence in his prey. But, since he now 
employs this infallible means of approaching within easy 
reach, there is no longer need for him to hide in ambush : 
and in fact, beginning with the Kalpadrumavaddna (n° 8), 
he ceases to have recourse to this obsolete proceeding. At 
the same time, as he has approached openly, it will be 
necessary that by a refinement of pity his victim should 
defend him against the vengeance of his first wife, if not 
from the rest of the herd : this is what the Bodhisattva 
fails not henceforth to do (n° 9-1 1 ). Soon — with n° 10 — 
scruples are aroused in the mind of the hunter, thus pro- 
tected : he no longer dares to lay his sacrilegious hand on 
the tusks of the « Great Being », for fear that it may fall 
from his body. Finally, in the SMrdlankdra (n° 1 1), to these 
interested fears is added a real and too legitimate repen- 
tance. Thus is seen how a striving after increased edifi- 
cation has by degrees modified a whole concordant assem- 
blage of details : and so it is not, as might be imagined, 
for an isolated reason, but by a whole sheaf of proofs, 
if we had time to consider them more closely, that the 
order of the preceding table would be justified. 

(i) And doubtless, of all people of low caste : for the costume of his order 
of mendicant brothers Buddha would quite naturally have chosen the coar- 
sest material of the cheapest colour. At least we do not see that the tradition 
relative to the kdsh&ya, if it had any meaning, can at the bottom signify 
anything else. For its variations in form cf. also Art greco-bouddhique du Gan- 
dhara, p. 369. 


Does this mean that we must blandly accept for the 
known documents all its features, and that, on the other 
hand, in order to fix the date of every new version, it will 
be sufficient to refer it to the corresponding degree on this 
chronological scale? In the case of a figured monument we 
should be rather inclined to believe so, provided that it is 
upon inquiry verified whether by chance it were not a case 
of some more or less archaizing imitation. As soon as it is 
a text that is concerned, the question becomes much more 
delicate, and from the very beginning we fall again into 
our difficulties. For the most part the table furnishes us 
with nothing more than simple presumptions, and these 
need still to be correctly interpreted. It affirms, for exam- 
ple, that the Sutrdlankdra represents the state of the legend 
current from the V"" century of our era ; and of this fact 
we have, in truth, two indisputable proofs. The one, of an 
artistic order, is the fresco of Cave XVII of Ajanta (VI*" cen- 
tury). The other, literary, but by a happy chance dated 
exactly as belonging to the second quarter of the VIP cen- 
tury, is nothing less than a passage from Hiuan-tsang : 
the story of the Shaddanta, gathered by the great pilgrim at 
Benares, is, as M. S. L^vi has already pointed out in his 
admirable article on the Sutrdlankdra et ses sources, « an 
exact and faithful resume of the story of Agvaghosha » O- 
What are we to deduce from these statements ? As the 
name of the author scarcely allows us to bring the work 
lower down than the IP'' century of our era, must We has- 

(i) Cf. M; S. Levi, Afvaghosha, le SutralanUra et ses Sources, in the Journal 
Asiatique, July-August 1908, p. 175 ■ Stanislas Jolien (L p- 360) translates 
in fact : « The elephant tore out his tusks », and Waiters (II, p. 53) says 
exactly the same. According to Beal (II, p. 49) he « broke off his tusks ». 
M. Chavannes admits that this second translation might literally be pos- 
sible : but, not to mention that the sense of « breaking » is given in the die- 



ten to conclude, as we might be tempted to do, that the 
account of the « white elephant with six tusks » is only a 
late addition ? This story forms a part of the XIV"" chapter. 
Now M. Ed. Huber warns us in his preface « that one of 
the first catalogues of the Chinese Tripitaka, the Li tai san 
pao ki, drawn up in A. D. 597, gives only ten chapters » to 
the Sutrdlahkdra. Besides, we feel to what a degree this col- 
lection of tales (which, like that of the Jdtakamdld, must at a 
very early date have been used by Buddhist sermon-writers 
for the needs of their daily preachings) was ill-defended 
against interpolations... — This is all very well and good ; 
and after all the thing is possible : but surely the place assig- 
ned to the Sutrdlankdra in our list by its conception of 
the Shaddanta-jdtaka does not authorise us to conclude from 
it anything of the kind. What, in fact, does it prove ? That 
this text already contains the form which the legend had 
assumed in the imagination of the artist painters of the 
VI"", and in the memory of the guides of the VII"', century. 
And in what way does it prevent the poetic talent of A^va- 
ghosliafrom having been the first to put into circulation the 
elaborate version which, as we have just seen, was coherent 
in all its parts and destined to have great success and defi- 
nitely to supplant the far too primitive account of the stan- 
zas ohhe Jdtaka} Two or three centuries may not have been 
too much for this literary production to become popular in 
its turn ; and here we find positively no peremptory reason 
invalidating its authenticity. The best course, with a view 
to the solution of this question — as of the question how 
far the Chinese translation is adequate to the Sanskrit origi- 

tionary of Couvreur as a secondary meaning, it is that of « tearing out » 
which corresponds to the description of the attitude in the Sutrdlankdra, 
and its representation in the fresco of cave XVII of Ajanta. 

Cf. pp. 39, 194-6. 

I. — From Cunningham, Stiipa of Bharhut, pi. XXVI, 2 ; for the 
description cf. above, pp. 39 and I94-5- 

II. — From a photograph taken by the author at the Madras museum 
in December 1896. The number and variety of the episodes collected 
together on this single medallion, among trees and rocks used as 
frames, give it, in contrast to the simplicity of that at Baihut, an espe- 
cially entangled and confused appearance. — i . On the lower part, to the 
right, we see the miraculous elephant with six tusks, standing between 
his two queens, of whom the first, on his left, holds over his head a 
parasol, whilst on the right the second flourishes a fly-flapper. — 2. He 
moves in the direction of the lotus pond, which occupies the bottom of 
the picture, and where we see him sporting with a numerous company ; 
the apparently female pachyderm who is coming precipitately out of 
the pond on the left and who then seems to crouch in order to throw 
herself down some precipice, would perhaps be intended to awake 
the remembrance of the jealous wife and her suicide? — 3. Whatever 
may be the fact concerning this detail, the story is now continued on 
the right, in the upper portion of the medallion. The great elephant is 
depicted standing at the moment when he crosses the fatal ditch in 
which lurks the hunter, whose bust only is to be seen between the 
animal's legs. — 4. A Uttle more to the left the elephant, whose fore. 
part only is shown, is kneeling, in order that the hunter may cut off his 
tusks by the aid of a saw furnished with a curved spring, much more 
elaborate than the tool used at Barhut. —5. Finally, right at the top, the 
latter carries away, on the two ends of a pole balanced on his right 
shoulder, the spolia ofnma of the Bodhisattva. It is curious to observe 
that the tusks are twelve in number, six (2X3) at each end of the pole ! 
Here and there indications of antelopes and deer, while lending anima- 
tion to the scene, only add to the crowding. 










Cf, pp. 195-6. 

I. — A frieze from the Lahore museum (no. 1156, height m. o,i6)^ 
■which formerly decorated one of the counter-steps of a staircase on 
Karamar Hill ; from a photograph taken by the author (cf. ^rtg.-b. du 
Gandh., I, fig. 158). The elephant has only one pair of tusks. — i. On 
the left he is wounded in the stomach by the arrow of the hunter 
hidden in a ditch. — 2. He then kneels down, to allow his teeth to be 
sawn off. — 3. Finally, on the right, the hunter, twice represented, 
brings back on his shoulder his bundle of ivory, and then offers it to the 
royal pair of Benares. We shall note the striking contrast between the 
distributive order of the episodes according to the ancient Indian 
school and according to the Indo-Greek school of Gandh^ra, there 
crowded together inside the same pannel, here deployed one by one 
along a frieze. 

II. — From Griffiths, The Paintings in the Buddhist Cave Temples of 
.yifantd, pi. 63 (fragment). For the description and interpretation of 
the attitude of the great white elephant cf. p. 195. The hunter is repret 
sented twice, first prostrate at the elephant's feet, \/ith his head on 
the ground, then still squatting, but already balancing on his shoulder 
the double burden of tusks, which the magnanimous animal has jus- 
delivered to him. 






nal — is to leave it to the future, especially now that we 
may hope for everything from the discoveries of manu- 
scripts in Central Asia ('), 

On the other hand, there is a point on which we believe 
we may already risk a categorical affirmation : we mean the 
manifest divergence which is seen between the version of 
the verse text oi the Jdiaka (n° i) and that of the prose com- 
mentary (n° 7). This divergence is not to-day remarked 
for the first timeQ: what we have here is only one more 
striking experimental demonstration of it. Read afresh 
with reference to our list the text of Fausboll's edition 
(V, pp. 37 sqq.), and you will quickly perceive that the edi- 
tor of the commentary in its present form knew a state of 
the legend analogous to that reflected in the works 
numbered 8 to 11; that, if he did not follow these latter 
right to the end, it was because he was hindered at each 
moment by his text, whose ancient particulars held him 
back, nolens voJens, on the incline down which he 
asked nothing better than to glide; and that finally 
he applied himself as well as he could to inserting be- 
tween the lines of the ancient story ornaments borrowed 
from the later legend. Henceforth you will hold the secret 
of the strange liberties which he takes with the letter of the 
stanzas; and you will have only to note point by point, as 
they occur, the most flagrant of his offences. You will 
smile at the palpable cunning with which, from the first 
line(p. 37, 1. i), he transfers the name of the elephant, 
Chaddanta, to the lake near which the latter dwells, and a 

(i) It is known that Prof. Luders has already announced the discovery 
of fragments (still unedited) of the Sanskrit text of the Sutrdhnkdra. 

(2) It is sufficient to refer here to Prof. Luders in GoUingische Gelehrte 
Nachrichten, 1897, p. 119, and M. E. Sekart's article on Les Abhisambud- 
dhag&thds in the Journal Asiatique, May-June 1901, pp. 385 sqq. 



little further (p. 41, 1. 23) glosses his « six tusks » by « two 
tusks of six colours » ; for you know that the latest mode 
was to ascribe to him only one pair. Where the good monk 
will perhaps seem to go rather far, is when he translates 
khura by kakaca (p. 52, 1. 9), and unblushingly essays to 
make you believe that knives are saws, in other words, that 
chalk is cheese. But soon you will content yourself with 
shrugging your shoulders before this strange and system- 
atic perversion of the text which he was supposed to 
interpret ; the fact is that you read his hand in advance and 
see why, before allowing the hunter to descend into the 
ditch specified by stanza 23, he believes it necessary to 
clothe him in the kdshdya of a monk (p. 49, 1. 8) ; why, 
when according to stanza 24 the whole troop is scattered 
to the « eight cardinal points » , he considers it more suitable 
to detain by the side of the wounded one at least his faith- 
ful wife (p. 50, 1. 9) ; why, a few lines further down, he 
has her brutally driven away, for fear she should punish the 
assassin (p. 50, 1. 19), etc. And when finally to stanza 32 
— which states merely that the hunter took his knife, cut 
off the elephant's tusks, and departed — he openly opposes 
(p. 52) the absurd and pathetic account which we have 
already analysed ('), the measure is heaped up and the cause 
decisively heard. If the gdthds have all the characteristics of 
an ancient popular plaint, which the barbarity of the pro- 
ceeding employed by the hunter to get possession of the 
ivory forces us to declare anterior to the Barhut medallion, 

(i)See above, p. 193. — It on all these points we have not referred to vol.V 
of the English translation carried out under the direction of Professor Cowell, 
it is because the metric version of Mr. W. Francis (either through blind con- 
fidence in the commentary or on account of the necessities of the rhyme) 
seems to regard it as a duty to palliate all the divergencies between the 
prose and the verse. Thus it is that the beginning of stanza je becomes on 
page 29 : « The hunter then the tusks did saw •» etc. 


that is to say, to the 11""* century B. C, it is no less evident 
that their atthakathd was not merely translated into Pili, but 
also accommodated to the taste of the times by a cleric 
of the V"* century of our era. It is a chasm of at least seven 
centuries that opens before our eyes between texts which 
at times some persons have desired to believe contempo- 

Thus, whether we arrive at simple points of interroga- 
tion or at real certainties, according to the case, it is worth 
while to take note of these first results. It is well known 
that in matters of chronology the Indianist is accustomed 
to be satisfied with very little. He can no longer neglect 
the data afforded by a comparison of the texts and the mo- 
numents, wherever they lend themselves to it. We have 
certainly chosen a relatively favourable specimen for our 
attempt : but as regards more than one jdtaka, and even 
more than one miracle of Buddha, it would already be 
possible to draw up a table analogous to that whose spon- 
taneous generation we have just encouraged. We may au- 
gure that these studies in detail, in proportion as excava- 
tions and new editions supply their constituent elements, 
will come to each other's aid, and that by a series of tests 
chronological data will in the end become more and more 
precise. From that time it would no longer be of such or such 
a particular episode, but of the whole Buddhist legend 
that we should succeed in distinguishing the successive 
states. If it is permissible even to print prognostica- 
tions which are still so vague, we should be very much 
surprised if we did not see reproduced, in a general way, 
the fact dominating the present list of the versions of the 
Shaddanta-jdtaka.In fact, it is self-evident that these latter di- 
vide nearly equally into two large groups, profoundly diver- 
gent from one another, between which the Singhalese com- 


mentator of the Jdtaka vainly endeavoured to construct a 
bridge. The six first are closely connected with the old na- 
tive tradition : the five last proceed no less unanimously 
from a new spirit, which probably filtered into India through 
its north-west frontier, as a result of foreign invasions. 
Thus, this table would be before all an excellent illustration 
of the « crisis » which a succession of great political 
upheavals at last, a short time after the beginning of our era, 
provoked in the Indian conscience, and which has already 
been described in a masterly fashion, by M. Sylvain L6vi, 
writing of A^vaghosha ('). 

(i)Xoc. cit., pp. 73-74. — Since the above article was written Prof. 
Rapson has been so good as to have copied by one of his pupils. Mr. W. 
H. B. Thompson, under his direction and for our use, the version of the 
Shaddantdvaddna from the Bodhisattvdvaddna-kalpalatd, which is lacking in 
the Paris ms. (cf. above, p. 188, n. 3), according to the mss. Add. i)o6 
and 91} in the University Library at Cambridge. The kind communication 
of this copy has enabled us to prove the identity of this version — with the 
exception of three interpolations — with that of the Kalpadrumdvaddna. It 
appears that the author of the latter collection restricted himself to repro- 
dacing, without however (in any way) informing the reader of the fact, 
the work of Kshemendra, except that on two points he has lengthened the 
narrative of his predecessor, which in his opinion was too much abbrevia- 
ted. This fact, however unexpected it may be, naturally does not change 
anything in our conclusions, as far as concerns the general chronology of 
the successive forms of the legend : it only causes us to think that the Kal- 
padrumdvaddna and Bodhisattvdvaddna-kalpalatd agree in preserving for us the 
version of the canon of the Mula-Sarvastivadins, which, as we know (cf. 
above, p. 151, n. 2), usually serves as a basis for the poetic lucubrations of 
Kshemendra. On the other hand, it supplies us with an excellent illustration 
justifying the reservations expressed above concerning the chronology of 
the texts : here, in fact, we are dealing with a well-known author, who wrote 
at the beginning of the XI* century, and who yet makes use of a version 
older than that of the Sutrdlahkdra. Thus it was wise on our part to consi- 
der as an acquired result only the demonstration of the difference of time 
between the stanzas of the Pali Jdtaka and their commentary. We are happy 
to be able on this last point to connect with the already cited evidence of 
M. Senart and Professor Luders that of Prof. Oldenberg (NachricUm der 
k. Gesellschaft der Wissenschajtm lu Gottingen, Phil.-hist. Klasse, 191 1, 
pp. 441 sqq.). 

Buddhist Art in Java C). 

The Stupaof Boro-Budur. 

The ruins of Boro-Budur (') constitute indisputably the 
most important Buddhist monument of the island of Java. 
We know also that they alone can compete, in the 
amplitude of their dimensions and the profusion of the 
bas-reliefs with which their walls are covered, with the 
other gem of Far-Eastern archaeology, I mean Angkor- Vat. 
In beauty of site they even far surpass the rival wonder of 
Cambodia. Occupying a detached position in advance of 
a small chain of mountains, which forms a screen on the 
south, the eminence on which stands Boro-Budur domi- 
nates the vast valley of Progo, all covered with shim- 
mering palm-groves and framed on both sides by the 
majestic summits of great volcanoes. To the west stretch the 
deep recesses of the Menoreh, flanked by the imposing 
sugar-loaf of the Sumbing, in height exceeding 10,000 feet; 
to the east extend the wonderfully pure curves of the twin 
peaks of the Mer-Babu, the Mount of Ashes, and of the 
Mer-Api, the Mount of Fire, the latter still active ; and 
in the northern distance, half-way to the sea, whose 
vapours may be faintly descried, the rounded hill of 
Magelang represents the head of the nail which, according 

(i) Extract from the Bulletin del'Ecolefranfaised' Extreme-Orient, vol. IX, 
1509, pp. I sqq. These notes are a result of a too brief stay which the 
author was able to make in Java during the month of May 1907. 



to the native tradition, fixed Java to the bottom of the ocean. 
The flat and marshy borders of the Cambodian Great-Lake 
have nothing to compare with this subhme scenery ; and 
yet it is a fact of common experience that Boro-Budur pro- 
duces at first sight a general impression much less profound 
than does Angkor- Vat. 

No doubt, we must in the first place take account of 
the difference in dimensions. The rectangular base of the 
Khmer monument has an exterior measurement of 187 by 
215 metres; the lower terrace of the Javanese building 
forms a square of 1 1 1 metres on each side. The former 
attains an elevation of 5 7 metres, whilst the present summit 
of the second does not reach 3 5 metres above the first steps. 
It is well likewise to note that the latter, older by three 
centuries or so and exposed to the same destructive agents 
— torrential rains and the luxuriant vegetation of the 
Tropics — is in a worse state of preservation ('). But, 
after all, we must acknowledge that the two monuments, 
even at the time ®f their unimpaired splendour, had from 
an architectural point of view nothing in common. Ang- 
kor-Vat deploys on tiers rising above the plain its three 
enclosing galleries, intersected by portals, flanked by eight 
towers and crowned by a ninth : Boro-Budur encom- 
passes the summit of a hill with the sacred number of its 
nine terraces, connected at the four cardinal points by stair- 
cases and surmounted by a dome. At Angkor- Vat the eye 
ranges through the colonnades or follows in the distance 

(i) Boro-Budur is commonly ascribed to the IX"' Century, and Angkor- 
Vat to the XII"'. The leaning walls of the Javanese Stupa threaten ruin to 
such a degree that the Government-General of the Dutch East Indies has 
been moved thereby. The friends of archseology will learn with pleasure that 
a first grant of 60,000 florins (about £ 5,000) is at present being devoted to 
works of preservation under the expert direction of Major Van Erp, of the 


the ever narrowing flight of the porticoes ; at Boro-Budur 
the lower galleries, interrupted by twenty right angles 
and confined on the exterior by a high parapet, narrow- 
ly enclose the visitor in their successive recesses ('). In 
Cambodia, whether from the end of the paved approaches 
he contemplates the clearly defined silhouette of the towers, 
or whether from the top of the central group he dominates 
the widely spaced plan of the enclosures, the spectator al- 
ways embraces in his view the grandiose scheme of the de- 
sign. In Java, from the foot as from the top, nothing is ever 
perceived but a compact mass confusedly bristling with 
432 niches and 72 little cupolas forming so many pin- 
nacles. The fact is that Angkor- Vat led the devotee by the 
perspective of long avenues straight to the dwelling of a 
god ; Boro-Budur, on the contrary, opened no access in 
its massive sides, which were destined solely as a shrine 
for relics. In one word, the first is a Brahmanic temple; the 
second is a stupa, or Buddhist tumulus. 

That the architectural form of the temple is infinitely 
more favourable to the effect of the whole than that of the 
mausoleum, no one will deny. Still this reason is not en- 
tirely satisfying; nor does it suffice to explain what at 
first sight is « wrong » with the aspect of Boro-Budur 
(pi. XXXI, i). It is not a dome with simple fines, like the 
most ancient Indian stupas which are preserved to us, for 
example at Sanchi and at Manikyala. Neither is it a super- 
position of quadrangular diminishing terraces, a kind of 
pyramid in steps, such as the Chinese pilgrims describe 
the « pagodas » of north-western India. Nor has it the 
lengthy slenderness of its Burmese or Siamese congeners, 
which point very high into the air as it were the handle of 

(i) Cf. pll, XXXI, 2 and XXXII, 2. 


an enormous bell. To speak candidly, it seems to have been 
unable to decide clearly whether to be conical, pyramidal, 
or hemispherical. The vertical indented walls of the 
first six galleries give the impression that the monu- 
ment is about to mount up straight towards the sky : 
but with the three upper circular galleries this start 
is suddenly frustrated, and the whole structure assumes 
a crushed and heavy appearance. Doubtless we must 
make allowance for the disappearance of the crown and 
the depression of the summit under the influence of the 
rains. Neither must we forget that the wide band of 
masonry which now forms the first terrace was construct- 
ed round the edifice as an afterthought and contributes 
in no slight degree to the appearance of heaviness ('). But, 
all taken into account, the disappointment of the 
impartial observer exists none the less. That a great tumu- 
lus can never be anything but a kind of huge pudding, he 
is quite ready to admit : but there are puddings which 
are more or less succesfuUy constructed. Without irrever- 
ence we may say that the stupa of Boro-Budur, with the 
endless zig-zags of its passages and the profuse ornamenta- 
tion of its pinnacles, gives at first the impression of a pasty, 
as badly « raised » on the whole as it is minutely carved 
in detail Q- 

(i) We know that the discovery of this peculiarity is due to an engineer, 
Heer J. W. Yzerman. The primitive plinth must have very early been 
buried in the new masonry along with the bas'-reliefs wherewith there had 
been a commencement of decoration. Doubtless it was found necessary to 
strengthen the foundations, which threatened to give way under the thrust 
of the upper stories : at the same time perhaps orthodox tradition found the 
addition of a terrace advantageous, thus completing in the most patent 
manner the sacred number of nine. This addition is indicated on pi. XXXII, i 
by the divergent hatchings. 

(2) In case the reader should be tempted to think that these criticisms 
are made by a prejudiced and particularly surly visitor, he is begged to refer 


It is not enough to state the fact; we must also explain 
it. Certainly we cannot question the skill of the architect 
who conceived the compHcated plan of these nine stories, 
who designed the mouldings and provided for the sculptu- 
ral decoration, who, finally, by an ingenious arrangement 
of gargoyles carrying away the rain-water, made sure of 
an indefinite preservation at a slight cost of maintenance. 
If, therefore, he pitched so low the summit of his con- 
struction, he must have had some reason for it. We confess 
that this reason revealed itself to us only in the evening, 
when seeing from the verandah of the neighbouring pasan- 
grahan (*) the obscure silhouette of the monument stand 
out against the starry sky. The contours of this dark mass, 
in which all details were obscured, presented themselves 
to us as distinctly curved (pi. XXXIII, i) : where we were 
seeking a pyramid, the builder had intended only a dome. 
Thus we learned our error. It had, in fact, become usual with 
archaeologists to regard Boro-Budur as a stupa erected on 
superposed terraces after the manner of those of north- 
western India (^). In reality, it is only a stupa in the form of 
a dome, according to the old Indian mode, but much more 
elaborate, being cut horizontally by a series of promenades 
and itself crowned with a second cupola. The influence 
which it has undergone, both in its general conception as 
in the detail of its mural decoration, comes to it not from 
Gandhara, but, as is natural, from southern India, where 

to the opinion of Brumdnd in Leemans, Boro-Boudour dans Vile de Java, 
Leiden, 1874, p. 679. 

(i) This is the Malay name for the traveller's house, corresponding to 
the Indian bungalow and the Cambodian sdld. 

(2) Such, for example, is the idea expressed in the passage of our j4rt 
greco-houddhique du Gandhdra, I, p. 80, to which the present note may 
serve as erratum. 


its direct ancestor is called AmaravatiC)- And this theory, 
imposed on the most uninitiated by observation of the 
monument, is confirmed beyond all hesitation by an exam- 
ination of the plans and elevations which have been 
drawn up by speciahsts. The ruling lines of Boro-Budur, 
notwithstanding the right angles and vertical walls of its 
lower galleries, are all curves. 

Have the goodness to cast a glance either at the 
designs contained in the grand album accompanying 
Leemans' book, or at our plate XXXII. The elements of 
the latter were borrowed from drawings recently execut- 
ed under the care of Major Van Erp, who was kind 
enough to communicate them to us. We have restricted 
ourselves to adding to the second, for the purpose of our 
demonstration, the dotted lines. Thanks to this simple 
artifice, the principles which presided over the construction 
of Boro-Budur will become quite clear. The plan demon- 
strates to us in the most evident manner that each of the 
lower galleries, however angular they may be, is inscribed 
within a circle, and is itself, at its principal points, tangent 
to an inner circle. On the elevation we perceive that the 
initial project of the architect involved the construction of 
an edifice assuming the general form of a segment of a 

Henceforth nothing remains but to offer him our 
humble apology and to try to enter into his views. 
Naturally our observations of fact still hold good ; but 

(i) Cf. Art. g.-b. du Gandh., fig. 58, a model of a stupa from Amaravati, 
where the procedure in decorating the walls of the monument with the aid 
of bas-reliefs and the recourse to a promenade intended to facilitate access 
to the upper row of these latter are already clearly indicated. Let us add that 
the excavations judiciously conducted by Major Van Erp have already borne 
fruit in the discovery of fragments of the balustrade, furnished with doors, 
which formerly surrounded the base of Boro-Budur. 


what we took for defects no longer appear to us anything 
but necessities logically imposed by the initial decision. 
It was in order to keep more closely to the horizontal 
sections of his segment of a sphere that he gave twenty 
angles to the parapets of the first four galleries and twelve 
to that of the fifth : if, in his desire to furnish his band of 
sculptors with plane surfaces, he had made these galleries 
simply quadrangular, they would have extended too far 
beyond the primordial inner circle. It is because a semi-cir- 
cular profile does not mount like a pyramid, that the upper 
promenades, themselves circular, are necessarily lowered. 
This explains at once the contrast between the steepness of 
the first steps and the gentle slopeof the last(cf pi. XXXIII, 
2) : not otherwise does one mount the outline of the upper 
section of a globe Q. Neither is it the fault of anyone, but 
rather in the nature of things, if, having once reached the 
top of the rounded sides, one can no longer see the foot, 
just as from the base it is impossible to perceive the sum- 
mit. If we likewise reflect that the architect of Boro- 
Budur was deprived of our favourite resource of colonnades, 
we shall understand why to the use of mouldings he has 
added that of antefixes, of niches and cupolas; and we shall 
no longer be astonished at the symmetrical multiplication 

(i) The difference between the steps at the bottom and those at the top 
is so great that from the first to the second gallery, for example, thirteen 
steps only go back m. 3,56 in rising m. 3,84, whilst the seven steps 
which lead to the first circular gallery, the sixth of the whole, have a depth 
of m. 3,40 in rising m. 1,80; Wilsen (ap. Leemans, p. 576) asks whether 
we must not, in the steepness of the first steps, see a symbol, suggested to 
the minds of the faithful by the intermediary of their legs, of the difficulty 
of attaining to Nirvana ! We conjecture, at least, that the impossibility of 
imposing upon them still steeper ones is one of the reasons which decided 
the architect not to conform in all things to the ancient Indian formula of 
the « air bubble on water », and made him recoil before the idea of assigning 
to his monument the form of a complete hemisphere. 


of these decorative elements. On the whole, in every point 
where we were ready to criticize him, we must now, on 
the contrary, recognize the ingenuity with which he has 
turned to advantage the ready-made formula which he 
had inherited from the ancient religious tradition of 
India, and to which from the very beginning he was bound 
as far as possible to conform. We cannot render him 
responsible for the mediocre architectural effect which his 
monument must always have had, even at a time before the 
uneven ruin of the decorations, the subsidence of the 
summit, and the crumbUng of the corners had broken and 
distorted the hues. Let us add that his first plan, by at once 
raising the level of the first gallery almost six metres above 
the pavement, indicated much better and in an incompara- 
bly more elegant manner, the form of the edifice. But for 
the heavy terrace in which he very soon had to bury the 
original foundation of Boro-Budur, and which still to-day 
gives the structure an awkward look, we flatter ourselves 
that we should have made fewer mistakes and felt less hesi- 
tation concerning the real intentions of its author. 


The Bas-Reliefs of Boro-Budur 

(principal wall of the first gallery) 

Whatever from an architectural point of view has been 
lost to Boro-Budur through the tyranny of religious tradi- 
tion is abundantly compensated in the decorative aspect- 
The 2,000 bas-rehefs, more or less, which formerly cover- 
ed its walls, and of which about 1,600 still exist to-day, 
are all borrowed from the legend, or from the Pantheon' 
of Indian Buddhism ; audit was the testimony of these that 


from the first established the sectarian character of the 
monument. In abundance and variety of subjects the 
Brahmanic art and epopee of India have provided for 
the labour of the sculptors of Angkor- Vat nothing com- 
parable hereto. Neither can these latter vie in skill of execu- 
tion with their confreres of Boro-Budur. While their chisels 
could only moderately carve the fine Cambodian sand- 
stone into rather shallow pictures, the artists of Java, not 
disheartened by the coarse grain of the volcanic stone 
furnished by their island, have drawn from it veritable 
high-reliefs of an astounding depth. Their figures, in spite 
of the eflFeminate softness of their lines, are rightly celebra- 
ted for the justness of their proportions, the naturalness of 
their movements and the diversity of their postures. Above 
all, they exhibit a knowledge of foreshortening, which 
is totally lacking in the later, but, owing to want of skill, 
apparently more archaic works of the Khmer artists. Even 
in India, if we except the few chefs-d'oeuvre that we still 
possess of the schools of Gandhara, Amaravati and Benares, 
we find nothing to surpass this final Far-Eastern flores- 
cence of Buddhist art. 

Among the hundreds of bas-reliefs the first to arouse 
interest were those which Leemans calls « of the second 
gallery », but which Heer J. W. Yzerman's discovery proves 
to have originally belonged to the first. This gallery is a 
corridor, having an interior width of m. 1,85, which, with 
twenty zig-zags, encompasses the whole monument (cf. 
pi. XXXI, 2). It is enclosed between two stone walls, built, 
like the rest of the construction, without any apparent 
mortar and interrupted only by the passage ofthe four stair- 
cases, both walls being ornamented by two superposed series 
of bas-reliefs. Among those which decorate the parapet (the 
« anterior wall » of Leemans), formerly 568 in number, 


whereof about 400 remain, Dr. S. d'Oldenburg has already 
identified a number of jdtakas, or previous lives of Bud- 
dha (0- On the wall itself of the stupa (the « back wall » of 
Leemans) Wilsen had early recognized in the upper row 
scenes from the last life of the same ^akya-m.uni ; and 
Dr. C. M. Pleyte has recently published a detailed explana- 
tion, according to the Lalita-vistara, of the 120 panels 
which it contains Q). As regards those of the bottom row, 
the greater number still await an interpretation. We remark 
at once, by the light of the identifications already made, 
that these pictures conform in the order of their succession 
to the general rule of the pradakshind Q} ; that is to say, 
they follow the direction taken by the worshipper who cir- 
cumambulated the stupa, keeping it on his right hand. It 
results quite naturally from this that, on the walls of the 

(i) S. d'Oldenburg, Notes on Buddhist Art, St. Petersburg, 1895 (in Rus- 
sian, translated into English in the Journal of the American Oriental Society, 
XVIII, I, January 1897, pp. 196-201). 

(2) C. M. Pleyte, Die Buddha-Legende in den Skulpturen des Tempels von 
Boro-Budur, Amsterdam, 1901, in-4°. — In general we are in agreement 
■with Dr. Pleyte as to the identification of the 120 figured scenes, which in 
fact follow religiously the text which they have undertaken to illustrate. 
All the same, his figure 14 seems to us to represent not « Qakra and the 
Guardians of the Cardinal Points », which would convey nothing particu- 
larly edifying, but the Bodhisattva, supposed to be seated in his mother's 
womb beneath the « pavilion of precious stone », at the moment when 
Brahma brings to him in a cup the drop of honey, quintessence of worlds, 
which he has just collected in the magic lotus figured in the preceding 
scene side by side with the Conception (^Lalita-vistara, ed. Lefmann, 
pp. 63-4). — As to figures 47 and 48, not identified by Dr. Pleyte, we believe, 
paradoxical as the assertion may seem, that they represent twice the epi- 
sode of the Bodhisattva's wrestling, first with a single competitor, and then 
with all his rivals together (Lalita-vistara, pp. 152-3). This is why on 
fig. 47 we see a single individual, and on fig. 48 all the young ^akyas, stand- 
ing motionless and facing the Bodhisattva, who also is motionless and stand- 
ing : so inveterate was the horror of the sculptors of Boro-Budur for all 
violent movements. — See below the additional note on p. 269. 

(3) Cf, Art greco-bouddhique du Gandhdra, , p. 268. 


parapet, the scenes follow one another from left to right, 
while, on the building, the succession is from right to left. 
On both sides they accompany the visitor who makes the 
round in the only direction compatible with the religious 
and auspicious character of the monument. 

It is all the more expedient not to ignore this law, inas- 
much as the identification of the bas-reliefs of this first 
gallery is, as we have said, very far from complete. Our 
attention was immediately and forcibly drawn to the 120 
magnificent panels on the right wall, below the scenes from 
the last life of Buddha. Measuring, Hke these last, from 
m. 0,70 to m. 0,80 in height by circa m. 2,40 in length, 
about three quarters of them have until now — partly 
through the fault of the artists and much more through the 
imperfections of the only reproductions which have been 
pubHshed (') — resisted all attempts at explanation. At 
the time of our visit we had at our disposal nothing but 
the text of the Divydvaddna and the excellent Guide of Dr. J. 
Groneman (^). The latter indicates in the series in question 
only two identifications, both again due to Dr. S. d'Olden- 
burg : one is that of the legend of Sudhanakumara ; the other, 
which is connected with the history of Maitrakanyaka, has 
quite recently been corroborated and developed by Prof. 
Speyer and Dr. Groneman at the cost of an extensive 

(i) We would speak of the enormous folio album of 393 lithographed 
plates, which is annexed to the already mentioned work of Leemans and 
which was so uselessly and so expensively designed at Java by Wilsen and 
Schonberg Mulder from 1849 to 1853, then pubHshed in Holland from 1855 
to 1871 under the care of the Government-General of the Dutch Indies. 
(3) Boeddhistische Tempelbouwvallen in die Prdgd-Vallei, de Tjandis Bdra- 

boedoer, Mendoet en Pawon, by Dr. J. Gronemann, Semarang-Soerabaia, 1907. 

The venerable archaeologist of Jogyakarta was so kind as to accompany us 

himself into the galleries and even to the summit of Boro-Budur; we cannot 

thank him too warmly for his trouble. 


correction of one of Wilsen's drawings. The reading of the 
DivyAvaddna gave us at once the key to the illustrations of 
two other stories, those of Rudrayana and of Mandhatar. 
Then two or three of these rebuses in stone themselves 
bear their own solutions. On the whole, two thirds of the 
120 panels in the row are thus clearly elucidated by direct 
comparison of the texts and the originals. At a time 
when the government of the Dutch Indies is preparing to 
endow the world of letters with photographic reproductions 
of all the sculptures of Boro-Budur, it is, perhaps, worth 
while to pubHsh, whhout further delay, these first results, 
which cannot but open the way to the complete explanation 
of the whole Q. 

I. South-Eastern Corner. — We shall begin our prada- 
kshind, according to rule, at the gate facing the east, which 
formerly constituted the principal entrance. The proof, if any 
is needed, is given by the fact that here begins on the upper 
series of bas-reliefs, the legend of the Buddha Qakya-muni. 
The 30 pictures of this series which are comprised between 
the eastern and southern staircases exhibit the very early 
events of his last life, from the preparations for his descent 
from the heaven Tushita until, and including, his last re- 
birth upoa earth. Of the 30 corresponding panels of the 

(i) In order to save the reader all confusion and to facilitate the refer- 
ences to the already published documents, we should explain that we here 
treat in detail only the 120 bas-reliefs called by Lbemans « lower row of the 
back wall of the second gallery », which, occupying the base of plates XVI 
to CXXXV of his album, are described (but not identified) from page 194 
to page 217 of his book. We will retain provisionally between .parentheses 
the numbers 2-240 assigned to them, — the odd numbers i to 239 being 
reserved for the 120 bas-reliefs of the « upper row » on this same wall, 
the row which, reproduced at the top of the same plates and described on 
pp. 121-193, is entirely devoted to the last life of Buddha and has been 
studied by Dr. C. M. Pleyte. 


lower row the first twenty are, as Dr. S. d'Oldenburg has 
briefly recognized, dedicated to the legend of Prince Su- 
dhana. We propose, with the aid of the text of the Divydva- 
ddna ('), to enter into the details of this identification, 
which may be regarded as definitive : we shall, at the same 
time, detect the methods of the sculptors. 

Sudhanakumdrdvaddna- — i. (L., pi. XVI, 2). « Once upon 
a time, says the text, there were in the country of Paficala 
two kings, the king of the north and the king of the 
south. .. » The former was virtuous, and his kingdom pros- 
perous ; with the second it was quite otherwise. Leemans 
describes the bas-reHef in these terms : « A prince and his 
wife, seated in a pendopo (*) not far from their palace, are 
receiving the homage of a great number of persons of 
rank ». Is it the monarch of the north who is presented to 
us in all his glory in the midst of his court? Is it the 
sovereign of the south whom we perceive in the act of dehb- 
erating with his ministers concerning the means of restor- 
ing prosperity to his kingdom? This it is not in the 
power of our image-makers to specify. 

2. (L., 4). What lends more probability to the first suppo- 
sition is the fact that in the following picture we must in 
any case recognize as the king of southern Pancala the 
prince who, sheltered by his parasol and followed by a nu- 
merous cortege, is riding on horseback through a conven- 
tional rocky landscape. Under a pretext of hunting, as the 
text tells us, he is making a tour of inspection through his 
kingdom, which he finds completely ruined and deserted. 
Perhaps he is even now plotting to rob his flourishing 

(i) S. d'Oldenburg, he. cit., p. 200; Divy&vaddm, XXX, ed. Cowell 
and Neil, pp. 435-461. 

(2) Probably a corruption of the Sanscrit word mandapa, which signifies 
a kind of hall or open pavilion. 


neighbour of the young ndga Janmacitraka, who resides in 
a pond near the capital of northern Pancala, and who by 
« dispensing at an opportune moment the exact amount of 
rain which is necessary » assures abundance to the country. 
But we can hardly rely upon the resemblance between the 
Brahman ascetic who goes before him, bearing in his right 
hand a kind of bent pruning-bill, and the snake-charmer 
whose witchcraft we are soon to witness. 

3. (L., 6). The following panel represents no less than 
three episodes. On the right the young ndga — recognizable, 
as on the sculptures of India, by his coiflFure of serpents' 
heads — asks upon his knees, and obtains, the protection of 
the hunter Halaka. In the middle (cf. pi XXXIV, i) the 
same Janmacitraka, grieving and under compulsion, is driv- 
en from the midst of the waters and lotuses of his pond by 
the influence of incantations pronounced (at his right side) 
by a Brahmanic ascetic before a sacrificial altar; fortunately 
the hunter, standing (on the other side) with his weapons 
in his hands, is watching over him. According to the text, 
he is about to put the charmer to death, not without first 
having made him. annul the effect of his charm. In the 
third group (on the left) we must therefore, it seems, 
recognize the same Brahman, not reporting to the king, 
whose agent he is, a mischance which he has not survived, 
but at the moment when he receives from this king his 
secret mission. It follows, therefore, that, by an exceptional, 
but not impossible, arrangement, the episode on the 
left, hke that on the right, must have preceded in time the 
one which they both enclose. 

4. (L., 8). Next, in the text, comes a brilliant reception 
at the house of the father and mother of the young ndga in 
honour of the saviour of their son. This is indeed what 
the bas-relief represents; but then we are forced to admit 


that for this occasion the hunter has donned a princely cos- 
tume, much superior to his caste. It is also necessary to 
supply the fact that in the meantime he has received from 
his hosts a lasso which never misses. 

5. (L., 10). The following picture transports us to the 
Himalaya mountains. On the right we perceive the lean 
ascetic figure of the old anchorite whose thoughtless chat- 
ter has guided the arm of the hunter Halaka. The latter, who 
is in a squatting posture, holds the Kinnari Manohara impri- 
soned at the end of his infallible lasso, while the companions 
of the latter, likewise represented in human form, rush 
towards the left in their aerial flight over a pond of lotuses. 

6. (L., 12). At this moment, we are told, Sudhana, the 
Royal Prince of northern Pailcala, is passing with a hunting 
party : Halaka perceives him, and, in order that his captive 
may not be forcibly taken away, presents her to him. 
We believe we must twice recognize the hunter in the two 
persons respectfully stooping down between the prince and 
the fairy, who are standing : in the first row he is offering 
his captive; in the second he receives the reward for it. 
Leemans was wrong in speaking of « a few women of 
rank » : Manohara is the only person of her sex. It goes 
without saying that, as in our stories, love springs up 
immediately between the young people. 

7. (L., 14). A king, seated in his palace, in the midst of 
his court, is in conversation with a Brahman. Without the 
text we should never be able to guess that this king is the 
father of Sudhana, and that the interlocutor is his purohita, 
or chaplain, the traitor of the melodrama. The latter is in 
the act of perfidiously counselling his master to confide 
forthwith to the royal prince the perilous task of subduing 
a rebellious vassal, against whom seven expeditions have 
already failed. 


8. (L., 1 6). The unhappy prince, in despair at having to 
leave his beloved Manohara, obtains permission to say 
farevi^ell to his mother before beginning the campaign, and 
begs her to watch over his young wife. That the bas-reUef 
does, in fact, represent an interview between a mother and 
a son is clearly proved by the higher seat of the queen and 
the respectful attitude of the prince. 

9. (L., 18). Sudhana, as it is written, stopped « at the 
foot of a tree » near to the rebellious town. Fortunately, 
Vai^ravana, one of the four gods who reign in the air, 
foreseeing his defeat, sends to his aid his general Pancika 
with a troup of Yakshas, or genii. These are the « five giants, 
or evil spirits », mentioned by Leemans. The latter con- 
tinues : 

10. (L., 20). « A prince, seated in his house with his 
wife and two servants, is giving audience to six men, per- 
haps wise Brahmans, with whom he is engaged in a very 
animated conversation... » Here, again, it is only from the 
text that we learn that the locality of the scene is transfer- 
red back to Hastinapura, the capital of northern Pancala, 
and that the father of Sudhana is asking his Brahman astro- 
logers for an explanation of a bad dream. The wicked chap- 
lain takes advantage of this to prescribe, among other 
remedies forestalhng such bad omens, the sacrifice of a 
Kinnari. The king seems to make a gesture of protest, and 
his wife shows manifest signs of sorrow. 

11. (L., 22). But in the heart of the king the instinct of 
self-preservation at last gains the victory. Thus, on the fol- 
lowing picture we see the fairy Manohara, with the assent, 
and even the compHcity, of the Queen Mother, flee away 
gracefully through the air (pi. XXXIV, 2). 

12. (L., 24). Meanwhile Sudhana, by the aid of the 
genii, has triumphed, without any shedding of blood. His 


mission fulfilled, he re-enters the capital, and begins by pre- 
senting to his father the taxes which he has recovered and 
the tribute of submission from the rebels. We shall not 
fail to observe on pi. XXXV, i the grace and suitability of 
the attitudes of the various persons. 

13. (L., 26). The prince has no sooner remarked the 
disappearance of Manohara and learned the « unworthiness 
and ingratitude » of the king than he again has recourse to 
his mother : it is interesting to compare this intervievv', in 
respect of variety of attitude, with that at which we were 
present above (no. 8). 

14. (L., 28). Once again a royal personage is presented to 
us, seated in his palace in the midst of his court; but this 
time he has a halo. By this sign we shall recognize here, 
as well as in nos. 17 and 18, Druma, king of the Kinnaras. It 
is, therefore, his daughter, Manohara, who, crouched at his 
left, is relating to him the story of her romantic adventures 
on earth. It results, further, from this that the scene is sud- 
denly transported beyond the first chains of the Himalayas 
to the distant and inaccessible country of the genii and 
fairies. The sculptor does all that he can to vary in 
imagination, if in execution he hardly succeeds, the places 
and persons. 

15. (L., 30). However Sudhana has set himself to 
search for his beloved. It occurs to him to enquire of the 
anchorite, whose incautious words formerly led to the cap- 
ture of the fairy by the hunter. Now it happens that the 
faithful Manohari, bearing no maHce, has left with this same 
rishi a ring and an itinerary, which he is respectively to 
deliver and to communicate to the prince. 

16. (L., 32). Without allowing himself to be discouraged 
by the length and terrible difficulties of the journey, the 
hero of the story at last succeeds in reaching the city of king 



Druma. At this very moment a crowd o{ Kinnaris is engag- 
ed in drawing water in great quantities for the bath of 
the princess — because, they say, of that human odour 
which she has brought back with her from the earth, and 
which will not disappear. Sudhana takes advantage of this 
to throw the ring of recognition into one of the pitchers, 
which he recommends to the servant as the first to be 
emptied over the head of Manohara. According to the text 
the trick is played without the knowledge of the Kinnari; 
but according to pi. XXXV, 2, so elegant in its morbidezza, 
it cannot be that she is deceived concerning the intention 
of the gesture and the motive for the recommendation ot 
the young man. 

17. (L., 34). The stratagem succeeds : Druma, warned by 
his daughter of the arrival of the prince, after threatening 
« to make mincemeat of him », is appeased, and consents 
to prove him. The bas-relief represents Sudhana standing at 
the left, his bow bent, ready to pierce seven palms with one 
single arrow ; on the right Druma, seated and with a halo, 
witnesses his prowess. 

18. (L., 36). Finally he resolves, as is written and as we 
can see, to grant the prince his daughter's hand. 

19. (L., 38). The newly-wedded couple lead a life of 
pleasure in the midst of the gynasceum. According to the 
customary Indian and Javanese formula these delights are 
provided by a dancing girl, accompanied by an orchestra of 
musicians of both sexes. As Leemans has shrewdly remark- 
ed, the royal couple do not seem to pay great attention to 
these amusements : they do not, in fact, suffice to cure 
the prince of homesickness. 

20. (L., 40). And this is why, on the following and last 
picture, we see him and his wife signalizing by a distribu- 
tion of bounty their return to Hastinapura. 


Here, we believe, ends, both on the monument and in the 
text, the story of Sudhana-kumara and the Kinnari Mano- 
hara, or, as we may translate it, of Prince Fortunate and 
the fairy Charming. The ten panels which continue the 
line as far as the southern staircase seem to be devoted to 
another story, in which the exchange by sea and land of 
portraits, or models, of the hero or heroine (') plays a role 
sufficiently picturesque to suggest sooner or later an iden- 
tification. For the present we prefer to abstain from all 
hypothesis. The example of the first twenty of these bas- 
reliefs proves clearly that it would be idle to attempt, 
without the aid of a text, an explanation founded solely on 
the intimations of the sculptors. Even a text is not always 
sufficient : it must also be well chosen. We have just 
remarked that our image-makers have, except for a few in- 
significant divergences, followed the letter of the Divyd- 
vaddna. We should arrive at a quite different result, if we 
compared with their work another version of the same 
legend, preserved in the no less ancient and authentic col- 
lection of the Mahdvastu Q. There we have no more ques- 

(i) A story, likewise Indian and Buddhist, translated from the Chinese 
by M. Chavannes (Fables et Contes de VInde, extraits du Tripitaka chinois, in 
Ades du XIV<^ Congres international des Orientalistes, I, p. 94) begins with 
this double and reciprocal exchange of ideal models : but the continuation 
of the story does not seem to accord with the scenes of our bas-reliefs. We 
may also recall, in the legend of Mahakagyapa, the detail of the fabrica- 
tion of a type of girl in gold (Beal, Romantic Legend, p. 317; Schiefner, 
Textes traduits du Kandjour in Milanges Asiat. de St. Peterb., VIII, pp. 296 
sqq., or Tibetan tales, p. 191). 

(2) Ed. Senart, II, pp. 94-115. On the other hand, the version of the Tibet- 
an ^aw/wr, translated by Schiefnzr (Tibetan tales, pp. 44-74), follows exactly 
the text of the Divydvaddna, that is, as has lately been shown by MM. S. Levi 
and Ed. Hdber, the canon of the Mfhla-Sarvastividins; we shall have to return 
to this point. Let us again cite two versions of the Sudhanakumdrdvaddna, 
the one from the BodUsattvdvaddnahalpalatd (no. 64), the other (pointed out by 


tion of a preamble, containing the adventures of the ndga 
Janmacitraka and of the snake-charmer : also it is not 
with an infallible lasso, but thanks to a « truthful word », 
that the hunter gets possession of the Kinnari. There is no 
longer any wicked chaplain, any expedition of the prince 
against a rebel, any bad dream of the king : it simply happens 
that Sudhana, having in the excess of his love neglected his 
duties, is put into prison by his father, and the fairy is 
sent home, but not by way of the air. Then it is with 
two hunters, and not with an anchorite, that Manohara 
leaves her ring and her directions to her lover. It is a huge 
monkey who transports the prince and his three compan- 
ions to the town of the Kinnari, where the best welcome 
awaits him, without having to undergo any trial of 
strength or skill. In short, if we had at our disposal only 
the Mahavastu, scarcely two or three out of twenty bas- 
reliefs, for example the capture of the Kinnari by the hunter 
and the throwing of the ring into the pitcher, would be 
susceptible of a detailed interpretation by the aid of the 
text : and yet it is quite evident to us, thanks to the 
constant accord between the Divydvaddna and the sculp- 
tures, that the identification with the legend of Prince Su- 
dhana would be on the whole none the less just. This 
remark deserves to be borne in mind throughout the deli- 
cate enterprise of the explanation of these mute stories. 

II. South-western Corner. — We should be tempted to 
apply it without further delay to the bas-reliefs which we en- 
counter immediately after having passed the point where 
the southern staircase crosses the first gallery of the stupa. 

Dr. S. d'OLDENBDRG, Leo-«M(i« bouddhiques, St Petersburg, 1894, p. 43) from 
the Bhadrakalpavaddna, no. 29. 


Thanks once again to the Divydvaddna (*), we shall there 
recognize with absolute certainty the biography of the 
famous king Mandhatar, as familiar to the Brahmanic 
legend as to the Buddhist. But it is only from the eighth 
bas-relief, counting from the southern entrance (no. 76 of 
Leemans), that the text again comes into line with the 
monument, to march side by side with it thenceforward 
as far as the twentieth. What does this mean? Are we to 
suppose that the first seven pictures relate to another story? 
The analogy of the south-eastern corner seems to supply 
stronger reasons for supposing that the first twenty bas- 
reliefs of the south-western corner were likewise dedicated to 
a single legend, that is to the Mdndhdtravaddna : only the 
sculptor must have commenced at a much earlier point 
than the compiler. The first goes back, it seems, as far as 
the incidents which preceded the birth of the hero, whilst 
the second, in an exordium obviously shortened and drawn 
up in telegraphic style, gives a rapid r^sum^ of his first 
youth, and proceeds to expatiate at large on the exploits of 
his reign. Until we have fuller information, everything 
leads us to beUeve that the story of Mandhatar commenced 
at the corner of the southern staircase and not right in 
the middle of one of the faces of this twenty-cornered 
gallery, and that it terminated, like that of Sudhana, at the 
fourth angle after the staircase. 

When we had arrived at this point in our hypothesis, the 
reading of the Bodhisattvdvaddnakalpalatd came to confirm 
it in a most unexpected manner. The abridged and colour- 

(i) XVII. Ed. CowELL and Neil, pp. 210-228. —Cf. a Pili version in the 
Jataka, no. 258 (ed., 11, p. 310; trans., II, p. 216), another Tibetan version 
in the Kanjur (Schiefner, Mel. As. de St-Pet., pp. 44° sqq., or Tibetan tales, 
pp. 1-20), and a third Sanskrit version in the Bodhisattvdvaddnakalpalatd, 
no. 4 (Bibl. Indica, New Series, no. 750, pp. 123-153). 


less version of the Pali Jdtaka no. 258 had been of no 
assistance whatever. Neither had we been helped by the 
Tibetan text of the Kanjur in the translation of Schiefner, 
which, in fact, follows with great fidelity the Divydvaddna, 
that is the version of the Mula-Sarvastivadins. Kshemen- 
dra does the same, but for once, in the midst of his insi- 
pid concetti, he has, at the beginning, preserved for us one 
topical detail (st.8-io) : 

« One day Uposhadha, anxious to assure the protec- 
tion of the anchorites by the destruction of the demons, 
mounted on horseback, and began to go through the 

a There certain rishis of royal race were holding a vessel 
ready for a sacrifice celebrated with a view to obtaining a 
son : very hot with the fatigue of the long journey, the 
king drank the contents at one draught. 

cc No one was there to prevent him ; and, because he had 
swallowed the contents of the enchanted vessel,the monarch, 
on returning to his capital, found that he had conceived... » 

All the versions agree in telUng us that there came on the 
head of king Uposhadha an enormous tumour, very soft to 
touch and in nowise painful. When it had matured, there 
issued from it a fine boy, for the charge of whose nurture 
the 60,000 women of the royal harem disputed. To the 
wonderful circumstances of his birth he owes his double 
name of Murdhaja and Mandhatar — or even, by confusion 
of these two, Murdhatar. But what is of special importance 
to us is that the Kashmir poet furnishes us with the only 
link which was missing in the interpretation of the bas- 
reliefs ('). 

Mdndhdtravaddna. — Henceforth nothing, indeed, prevents 

(i) Cf. nearly the same story in Mahahharata, Dronaparvan, LXII. 


US from seeing in nos. i(L., pi. XL VI, 62)cand 2(L., 64) the 
rich alms which King Uposhadha himself bestows and causes 
to be bestowed with a view to obtaining a son. The reason 
for the expedition represented in no, 3 (L., 66) is no longer 
hidden from us : it is that undertaken by the king (who in 
this case travelled in a litter) for the protection of the 
anchorites. No. 4(L., 68) takes us straight to a hermitage of 
the rishis; and we beheve that we can see there the magic 
vessel to which Uposhadha owed in such an unusual manner 
the fulfilment of his desires. In any case, it is in the follow- 
ing picture (no. 5 ; L., 70) that the child so much desired is 
at last seen. Again, nos. 6 and 7 are probably there simply 
as padding, and they represent, the first (L., 72) the horo- 
scope of the future cakravartin or sovereign monarch of the 
world, the second (L., 74) the donation intended to recom- 
pense the astrologer. These last incidents, Uke that of the 
alms, are very commonplace; it is easily intelligible that the 
compiler of the Divydvaddna should have dispensed with a 
further repetition of them. On the other hand, the sculptors 
of Boro-Budur never fail to emphasize, as hints to visit- 
ing pilgrims, these edifying scenes of virtue in prac- 
tice. But let us proceed : we are now on firm ground, 
supported by both a written and a figured form of the tra- 
dition in mutual accord. 

8. (L., 76) a Having become a royal prince, Mandhatar 
goes to see the country. » We do, indeed, perceive the 
young prince at the moment when, starting on his jour- 
ney, he respectfully takes leave of his father. 

9. (L., 78). During his absence the latter dies. Among the 
marvels susceptible of representation which are adjuncts 
of his coronation the text signalizes the sudden appearance 
of the « seven jewels » of the cakravartin. This is why we 
see depicted here among the surroundings of the prince, who 


has become king, a disc, a jewel, a horse, an elephant, a 
woman, a general, and a minister. 

10. (L., 80). The Divydvaddna tells us, immediately after, 
that not 'far from Vai^ali there is a charming wood, in 
which reside five hundred rishis. Now extraneous noises are 
the scourge of pious meditations. A surly anchorite, 
annoyed by the noise of certain cranes, breaks their wings 
by a curse. King Mandhatar, angered in his turn by 
this hardness of heart, requests the hermits to depart 
from his dominions. The bas-relief also shows us birds 
placed on the ground between the king, who is standing in 
conversation with a stooping courtier, and two rishis, recog- 
nizable by their big chignons and their rosaries, who are 
fleeing by the route of the air. 

11. (L., 82). Mandhatar, continuing his tour, decides 
not to have the fields of his kingdom any more cultivated ; 
for the corn will rain down from heaven. The peasants do, 
in fact, gather up before his eyes bunches of ears of rice, 
which have fallen from the clouds : we expressly say 
bunches, and not sheaves, because in Java the rice is not cut, 
but gathered by hand. 

12. (L., 84). In the same way Mandhatar decides that 
his subjects will no longer need to cultivate cotton, or to 
spin, or to weave. Immediately there fall from the clouds 
pieces of woven material, which the people have only to 
catch in their flight and to fold up for subsequent use 
(pi. XXXVI, i). 

13. (L., 86). Somewhat vexed, because his subjects attri- 
bute partly to themselves the merit of all these miracles, 
Mandhatar causes for seven days a shower of gold, but only 
within his own palace. This explains why, beside the king 
and his ministers, we see here only women, engaged in col- 
lecting the treasures pouring from jars set amid the clouds. 


14. (L., 88). Finally king Mandhatar, preceded by the 
seven jewels of the cakravartin and followed by his army, 
sets out for the conquest of the universe : the feet of none 
of the persons touch the ground. 

15. (L., 90). Here the text, in order better to depict the 
insatiable greed of the human heart, enters upon a series 
of repetitions impossible to reproduce on stone. King 
Mandhatar has for a herald (purojava) a yaksha, or genius, 
who at each fresh conquest informs him of what still 
remains for him to conquer. On the monument we are in 
the presence, once for all, of this periodical council meet- 
ing ; for the rest, the sculptor has given to the yaksha the 
ordinary appearance ofaBrahmanic minister, 

16. (L., 92). On the following panel he conducts Mandha- 
tar at a swoop to the summit of his prodigious fortune. 
Two kings, exactly aUke and both with haloes, are seated 
in a palace side by side on seats of equal height, in the midst 
of their court. Without the slightest doubt the moment 
chosen is that when (Jakra, the Indra of the Gods, has, 
on the mere mental wish of the king of men, yielded up to 
him the half of his throne : and there was no difference to 
be seen between them, except that the eyes of ^akra did 
not blink. 

17. (L., 94). If this interpretation were at all doubtful, it 
would be confirmed by the picture immediately following, 
which represents a combat between the gods and the Asu- 
ras. Thanks to their human ally, the gods triumph. 

18-20. But from this moment a certain hesitation begins 
to manifest itself between the text and the bas-reliefs ; and 
immediately the uncertainty in our identifications reap- 
pears. According to the Divydvaddna, Mandhatar after the 
battle asks : « Who is conqueror?)) — « The king », is the 
reply of his ministers; whereupon the infatuated king car- 


ries his presumption so far as to wish to dethrone Indra, in 
order to reign alone in his place. But this time he has gone 
too far. Scarcely has he conceived this thought than he is 
thrust from the height of the heavens down to the earth; 
and he has hardly time, before he dies, to pronounce a few 
edifying words concerning the excess of his blind ambi- 
tion. Consequently no. i8 (L.,96), which is quite analogous 
to no. 15, should represent the last consultation of the king 
with his minister; no. 19 (L., 98) should be dedicated to 
the last words which he pronounces after his fall, while on 
the left Qakra, standing and with a halo, should turn away 
from him; then finally no. 20 (L., 100) should show us his 
funeral and, as befits a cakravartin, the depositing of his 
ashes in a stupa. But these explanations, plausible though 
they may be, have not the obviousness of the preceding. 

Qibi-jataka. — We should say the same of those which 
we might propose for the ten bas-reUefs which continue the 
series as far as the western staircase, excepting the sixth 
(L., pi. LXXI, 112). It seems indubitable that this latter 
represents the essential episode of the Qihi-jataka, that is to 
say, that previous life in which the future Buddha ran- 
somed a dove from a falcon at the price of an equal weight 
of his flesh ('). At least, nothing is wanting to the 
scene, neither the Bodhisattva seated in his palace, nor the 
bird of prey perched on a neighbouring tree, nor the 

(i) It is well known that we still have no Indian Buddhist version of this 
form of the legend. Except for the Brahmanic epopee, it is known to us 
only from the allusions of the Chinese pilgrims Fa-hien (trans. Legge, 
p. 30), Sung Yun (trans. Chavannes, B. fi. F. E.-O., Ill, p. 427), Hiuan- 
tsang (trans. Stan. Julien, I, p. 137), and from Chinese versions, such as 
that which was retranslated from Chinese by M. Ed. Hdber, Sutralan- 
Mra, Paris, 1908, p. 330, and from Tibetan by Schmidt, Der Weiseundder 
Thor, p. 120. 


pigeon, which appears twice, once placed on the back of 
the throne and once in one of the plates of the scales 
(pi. XXXVI, 2). This time the bas-relief would be sufficient 
for its own interpretation. We feel how rare is such a case 
among all these sculptures ; and the greater number of those 
of the upper row — which in the south-west corner extend 
from the birth of ^akya-muni to the four excursions which 
determined his vocation — are not more expressive. 

III. North-Western Corner. — The bas-reliefs of the 
third portion of the first gallery (on the right-hand wall) are 
known to represent in the upper row the departure of Bud- 
dha from his home, that is to say, his entry into the reli- 
gious life, and all the trials which preceded the attainment 
of perfect illumination. Out of the 30 in the lower row at 
least 22 , and perhaps 2 5 , are, as we shall show step by step, 
consecrated to the celebrated historical legend of king 
Rudrayana. Again it is in the Divydvaddna that we may read 
it (*). In the B. i. F.E.-O. of 1906, M. Ed. Huber gave, in 
accordance with the Chinese translation and the Sanskrit 
text, an analysis of it, from which it clearly appears that 
this avaddna, like the preceding ones, is only an extract from 
the Vinaya of the Mula-Sarvastivadins. In this connection 
M. Huber had seemed to discern through the drawings 
of Wilsen that one of the episodes of the story, viz. that of 
the two cats (cf. below, no. 17), was represented at Boro- 
Budur ; but, justly discouraged by the inexactitudes of the 
only accessible reproductions, he was obliged to abandon 
this clue. Direct comparison of the text with the monument 
has permitted us to follow it up from one end to the other. 

(i) XXXVII, ed. CowELLand Neil, pp. 544-586. It is known that Bur- 
NOUF translated a fragment of it in his Introduction a I'histoire du Bouddhisme 
indien, pp. 341-344. 


The extremely exact and sufficiently detailed resume publish- 
ed by M. Huber, to which we refer the reader, will allow 
us this time to insist a little less upon the history and a 
little more upon the sculptures. 

Rudrdyandvaddna. — First of all, we must state that we do 
not see any way of making the story on the stone begin at 
the corner of the western staircase, but only at the first reen- 
tering angle after the face intersected by that staircase. Do 
the three first bas-reUefs on the left of the entrance, in which 
Qakra plays his accustomed role of deus ex machind, form a 
whole by themselves, or must they not rather be a continua- 
tion of those on the right? Or, on the contrary, may we not 
some day come to think that the story of Rudrayana also 
comprises a prelude omitted in the Divydvaddna} Only the 
chance of reading some Indian text may some day tell us, 
even if we have not to await a solution by a Tibetan or a 
Chinese translation. 

1. For the moment we begin with the Divydvaddna at 
no. 128, pi. LXXIX of Leemans, where Rudrayaria, king of 
Roruka, questions merchants, who have come from Raja- 
griha, the capital of Bimbisara, concerning the merits of 
their master. 

2. (L., 130). A king is seated in his palace; on his right 
a courtier holds in both hands a rectangular tablet : this 
must represent the letter which, in the first fire of his 
enthusiasm, the sovereign of Roruka resolved to write to 
his cousin of Magadha, Further, two suppositions are per- 
missible : if the king represented is the sender, his name is 
Rudrayaria; if, as seems more natural, he is the addressee, 
he is Bimbisara. We do not ask our sculptors to decide this 
by attributing to each of the two monarchs a characteristic 
physiognomy : that would be exacting too much from them. 

3.(L., 132). Then follows a grand reception to welcome, 


or to say farewell to, the improvised ambassadors, in a 
royal court no less uncertain. The Divydvaddna ssljs no word 
regarding this function : but the meaning of the mise en 
scene is not to be doubted; and, for the rest, it is sufficient 
to compare it with the 1 1 2* bas-relief of the upper row 
(L., pl.CXXVll, 223,or Pleyte, fig. 112), which represents 
a grand dinner offered to Buddha. There, as here, the table 
is laid in the Javanese fashion : from twenty to thirty 
bowls, containing divers seasonings or viands, surround an 
enormous pot of rice, which constitutes the principal dish 
— in fact, a regular rijstaffel of ten centuries ago. 

4.(L., 134). This time the attitudes of the minor persons 
and the obvious character of the offering define very dis- 
tinctly the hero and locality of the scene : Bimbisara is 
receiving at Rajagriha the casket of jewels which Rudrayana 
has sent to him together with his letter. 

5. (L., 136). The case of stuffs sent in return by the 
king of Magadha to his new friend occupies the middle of 
the scene : but the pensive air of the king and the respectful 
immobility of the attendants make it doubtful whether we 
have to do with Bimbisara deciding upon his present, or 
Rudrayana receiving it and already wondering what he can 
give in exchange ('). 

6. (L., 138). However that may be, the following bas- 
relief again represents Bimbisara, receiving from Rudrayana 
his precious cuirass. This object has been so terribly mal- 
treated in the representation, where it is absolutely unre- 

(i) We were somewhat inclined towards this last supposition : but, all 
taken into account, it seems impossible to establish a regular alternation 
between the heroes of these first six bas-reliefs. If we must admit any sym- 
metry between them, we should rather be inclined to think that in nos. 1-3 
the scene is at Roruka, and in the three following at Rijagriha. Then we 
return to Roruka until no. 13. 


cognizable, that we think it advisable to give a photogra- 
phic reproduction (pi. XXXVII, i). 

7. (L., 140). The total absence of landscape is sufficiently 
rare to render it worth our while to direct attention to it 
here. The whole height and breadth of the panel are occu- 
pied by a procession, in which the place of honour, be- 
tween the arms of a man perched on an elephant, belongs 
to a kind of rolled up kakemono, on which we know that the 
silhouette of Buddha is painted. Doubtless, the scene is 
taken at the moment when the inhabitants of Roruka, who 
are come out to meet this supreme gift from Bimbisara, 
bring it back with great pomp to their town. 

8. (L., 142). This picture is quite analogous to no. i, 
not to mention that it is likewise placed at the turn of 
an angle : only, in the interval the subject of the conversa- 
tion has changed in a most edifying manner. It is no longer 
the merits of their king which are the boast of the people 
of Rajagriha, but those of Buddha himself. 

9. (L., 144). Rudrayaria, as soon as converted, begged 
to receive instruction from a monk, and the master des- 
patched to him the reverend Mahakatyayana : a monk 
is, in fact, sitting at the right of the king, and even on a 
higher seat than he. In the most gratuitous — and also the 
most perplexing — manner the designer considered it 
necessary to surmount the shaven head of this monk (cf. 
pi. XXXVII, 2) with the protuberance of the ushnisha, which 
is special to Buddhas. Let us add that Mahakatyayana seems, 
in the midst of the edified hearers, to be making a gesture 
of refusal : what he refuses is, doubtless, to preach in the 
gynseceum of the king: that is the business of the nuns. 

10. (The drawing is missing in L.;. Thus the following 
panel shows us the nun ^aila preaching from the height of 
a throne to the king and four of his wives, who are seated on 


the ground (pi. XXXVIII, i). Behind her a servant seems to 
be ordering three armed guards to forbid anyone to enter the 
harem during the sermon. It will be noticed that — doubt- 
less from modesty — the nun and, in a general way, the 
women are seated with their legs bent under them, and 
not crossed in the same manner as those of the monks and 
the men ('). 

11. (The drawing does not appear in L.). The scene is 
obviously the same, except in two points. Firstly, a second 
nun, squatting behind Qaila, represents doubtless the quorum 
necessary for an ordination. In the second place, there are 
now only women in the audience, and the place formerly 
occupied by the king is taken by a third hhihhuni kneel- 
ing. Immediately the text invites us to recognize in this 
novice queen Candraprabha, who, conscious of her approach- 
ing death, has obtained from Rudrayaria authority to enter 
into religion (pi. XXXVIII, 2), 

12. (The drawing is not to be found in L.). That on the 
following bas-relief the king is again in conversation with 
his favourite wife would likewise not be understood, did 
we not learn elsewhere that Candraprabha was born again 
in the nearest heaven, and that she promised her husband 
to return after her death to advise him as to the ways and 
means of reunion with her in another life. Here she is ful- 
filHng her promise (pi. XXXIX, i). 

13. This explains also why the very next morning 
Rudrayana decides to go and be ordained a monk by Bud- 
dha, and announces to his son Qikhandin that he abdicates 

(i) In the same order of ideas we may again notice that the real padma- 
sana, with the legs closely crossed, the soles of the feet turned upwards and 
the right foot forward, is reserved by our sculptors for Buddha alone (cf. 
on the upper corners of our plates XXXVII, 2 and XL, i the image of the 
Bodhisattva, already represented in the form of a Buddha). 


in his favour (pi. XXXIX, 2). In this case the drawing of 
L., pi. XCI,i52, reproduces only the upper part of the char- 
acters, and commits the very grave fault of making the 
king's interlocutor a woman : it is obviously a man. 

14. (L., 154). If the four preceding pictures are either 
totally or partially missing from Wilsen's album, the follow- 
ing one is, in compensation, more than complete. The 
designer began once more — with the aggravation of an 
indication of locks of hair covering an imaginary ushnisha 
— the mistake of which he had already been guilty in 
no. 9 : of a monk with a round, shorn head he made a 
Buddha! Furthermore the two scenes nos. 9 (pi. XXXVII, 2) 
and 14 (pi. XXXIX, 3), which are quite symmetrical, bring 
face to face with one another, in the customary surround- 
ings of a royal residence, the type of the monk and the type 
of the king. Only the continuation of the text reveals to us 
that this time the monk is no longer Mahakatyayana, but 
Rudrayana himself, who has just been ordained by Buddha 
in person at Rajagriha. In a long dialogue he rejects, for his 
first round in public as a mendicant monk, the seductive 
offers of Bimbisara. You may well imagine that it was 
impossible to pass by so fine an opportunity for reproducing, 
both on the monument and in the text, the famous episode 
of the temptation of the future ^akya-muni by this same 

15. (L., 156). The bas-relief is divided into two parts 
by a tree, and the different orientation of the characters 
emphasizes this separation. On the right, at Rajagriha. the 
monk Rudrayana (still wrongly represented by Wilsen as a 
Buddha) learns from merchants, natives of his country, 
that his son ^ikhandin is conducting himself badly on the 
throne, and he promises to go and put things in order. On 
the left, at Roruka, King Qikhaiidin is warned by his evil 


ministers that there is a rumour of his father's early return, 
and he forms with them a plot to assassinate him. In the 
background is to be seen already, in her private palace, the 
Queen Mother, who in this portion of the story will play 
a very important part. 

16. (L, 158). The panel is divided like the preceding one, 
and the separating tree is, in this case, further reinforced 
by a little edicula, which serves as porch to a pahsaded 
interior (pi. XL, i) : nevertheless the two scenes take place at 
Roruka. On the right king ^ikaiidin learns from several per- 
sons (one of whom, being armed, is perhaps his emissary, 
the executioner) of his father's death and last words. On 
the left, filled with remorse for a double crime, the murder 
of a father and the murder of a saint, he comes to seek 
refuge with his mother : doubtless this is the moment cho- 
sen by the latter to disburden him at least of his crime of 
parricide by revealing to him, truly or falsely, that 
Rudrayaria is merely his reputed father. 

17. (L., 160). There remains the taskof exonerating him 
from the not less inexpiable murder of an arhat, or Bud- 
dhist saint. Is it worth while to recall the ingenious stratagem 
conceived by the evil ministers in order to prove that there 
is no arhat, or, at least, that those who pretend to be such 
are only charlatans? On the left we perceive, each hidden 
under his stupa (which Leemans wrongly took for « vases 
in the form of globes »), the two cats which have been train- 
ed to answer to the name of the two first saints formerly 
converted by Mahakatyayana. On the right the Queen 
Mother and Qikhandin take part in the demonstration, 
which to them appears convincing. 

18. (L., 162). The frame contains two distinct episodes. 
On the right king Cikhandin passes, seated in a litter; 
surely he has just ordered each person in his suite to throw 



a handful of dust on Mahakityayana, with whom his rela- 
tions have never been cordial. On the left — for once, 
correctly represented by Wilsen — the monk, already 
free from the heap of dust, under which he has miraculously 
preserved his life, announces to the good ministers Hiru 
and Bhiru the approaching and inevitable destruction of 
the infidel city of Roruka. 

19. (L., 164). Like Qikhandin in his palace, we witness 
the rain of jewels which, according to the prophet, must 
precede the fatal rain of sand. The eagerness of the inhabi- 
tants to gather up the precious objects, cast down from ves- 
sels O in the height of the clouds, is painted with a 
vivaciousness which seemed to us quite deserving of repro- 
duction (pi. XL, 2). In the first row a boat which is 
being loaded with jewels proves that the good ministers 
have not forgotten a very practical recommendation of 
Mahakatyayana Q. 

20. (L., 166). The destinies are accomplished : Roruka 
has been buried with almost all its inhabitants. When the 
curtain rises again, we are in the village of Khara, the first 
halting-place of Mahakatyayana on the route of his return 
to India. The tutelary goddess of Roruka, who has followed 
him in his flight through the air, is detained at Khara by 
an imprudent promise : but, on leaving her, the monk pre- 
sents her with a souvenir in the shape of his goblet, over 

(i) These vessels, which we have already encountered above (Mindhitar, 
no. 13 ; L., pi. LVIII, 86), seem to be a current accessory of Indian imagina- 
tion. Compare the passage from the Jdtdkamdld, XV, 15 (ed. Kern, p. 97; 
trans. Speyer, p. 138), where the clouds pour down « like overturned ves- 
sels ». 

(2) Let us remark in passing that the departure of the two good minis- 
ters in ships scarcely fits in with the localization (which was surely already 
known to the author of the text, and which M. Hober recently treated again 
in the B, £. F. £.-0., VI, igo6, pp. 335-340) of Roruka in Central Asia. 


which a stilpa is raised. It is the inauguration of this monu- 
ment which is represented on the bas-relief : on the right is 
the chief of the village; on the left, with a lamp in one 
hand and a fan in the other, is the goddess herself; behind 
them crowd the laity of both sexes and the musicians. 

21. (L., 168). We are carried to the next halting-place, 
Lambaka. (^yamaka,the young layman, the sole companion 
who remained with Mahakatyayana, receives from the people 
of the country an offer of the throne. A miracle, which is 
frequent in the texts, but unsuitable for representation on 
stone (the shade of the tree under which he stands remains 
stationary, in order to shelter him), has revealed to them 
the excellence of his merit. 

22. (L., 170). We pass on to the third halting-place, Vok- 
kana. Here Mahakatyayana leaves to her who in a former 
existence was his mother his beggar's staff, a fresh pretext 
for building a stupa. As in no. 20, we are present at the 
inauguration of the monument. At least, the continuation 
of the narrative accords with the introduction of this subject 
on the bas-reliefs in too striking a manner for the identifi- 
cation not to impose itself. 

Better still : just as Leemans' nos. 166, 168 and 170 set 
before us religious feasts interrupted, thanks to a not excess- 
ive desire for variety, by a profane subject, so nos. 172, 174 
and 176 intercalate a land scene between two maritime 
episodes. Now this intervening scene (L, 174) represents 
the entrance of a monk — notwithstanding the drawing of 
Wilsen, who lends him hair and jewels, it is indeed a 
monk — into the paHsaded enclosure of a town, whilst a 
group of inhabitants approaches to give him welcome. Here 
again, with the text in our hands, it seems difficult not to 
recognize the return of Mahakatyayana to Qravasti. Then, 
the two pictures in which we see a boat just drawing near 


to a bank would represent, no less scrupulously than do the 
texts, the two foundations of Hiruka and Bhiruka by the 
two ministers Hiru and Bhiru after their flight by water 
from Roruka. Thus, in spite of the terribly commonplace 
character of the two disembarcations, we venture to make 
the following identifications : 

23. (L., 172). Landing of Hiru and foundation of Hiruka. 

24. (L., 174). Return ofMahakatyayana to^ravasti. 

25. (L., 176). Landing of Bhiru on the future site of 
Bhiruka or Bhirukaccha (*). 

The double repetition of the scene of the stupaand of the 
ship will be noticed. We do not see any plausible explana- 
tion of it, unless we suppose that the sculptor, after having 
skipped more than one important incident in the history 
of Rudrayana, has been obliged, in order to fill up the space 
for decoration, to lengthen out the epilogue. In fact, we 
must not forget that the bas-reUefs, which were carved in 
situ and in the very stones whose juxtaposition consti- 
tuted the monument, could be neither removed nor repla- 
ced. There is no absurdity, therefore, in supposing that the 
artist, on approaching the last angle before the northern 
staircase, perceived that he still had to fill five or six 
panels, of which he could not decently devote more than 
two to the Kinnara-jdtaka : he will then have rid himself 
from his embarrassment by a double repetition, which 
moreover was justified by the texts, while bringing right 
to their destination all the few persons who had escaped 
from Roruka, that is the goddess, ^yamaka, Mahakatyayana, 
and the two good ministers. 

(i) Apparently it is Bharukaccha, the Barygaza of the Greeks and the pre- 
sent Bharoch, or Broach, which is meant. 


Kinnara-jdtaka, — We may say, furthermore, that the 
two last panels of this portion of the gallery (L. , 1 78 and 1 80) 
are likewise duplicates. The only appreciable difference is 
that the same prince is standing on the first to overhear — 
and seated on the second to listen to — the discourse of 
the same pair of Kinnaras. Such is, in fact, the name that 
we do not hesitate to give to the « human phenomena », 
who are related to the Gandharvas hythtir musical talents (') 
and who are represented here with birds' wings and 
feet (pi. XLI, i). The Buddhist art of India and the Far 
East seems to have taken no account whatever of the 
concurrent tradition which claims that the Kinnaras are 
human monsters with horses' heads Q. When it has not 
been considered more suitable to give them, as above 
(pll. XXXIV, 2 and XXXV, 2) in the illustration of the Su- 
dhana-kumara legend, a purely anthropomorphic aspect, it is 
usually a kind of harpy that is represented under this name. 
This strange combination of the bust of a man or a woman, 
with or without arms, grafted on to the body of a bird, is 
found almost everywhere. It fits as well into the corners 
of the pediments of the temple of Martand in Kashmir as 
into those of the metopes of the Parambanan temple in 
Java. It has continued to be especially frequent in the deco- 
rative and religious art of Siam. In India proper it appears 
in the paintings of Ajaiita ; and we have remarked elsewhere, 
in a sculpture inscribed on the « Tower of Victory » at 

(i) Gandhabhaputta they are called by st. 7 oi Jdt. no. 481 (IV, p. 252, 
1 16). 

(2) It is not that monsters of this kind are unknown to ancient Indian 
sculpture ; but the woman with a horse's head, who, on a medallion of the 
balustrade of Bodh-Gaya (Ritj. Mitra, Buddha-Gaya, pl. XXXIV, 2) and of 
that of the smaller stilpa at carrying away a man, is at the commence- 
ment of }dt. no, 432, which relates her history, simply called a yakkhini 


Chitor (XV"" Century), « a double pair of Kinnaras », per- 
fectly analogous to those ofBoro-Budur('). Perhaps, under 
the Kinnara-jdtaka rubric, they were not otherwise treated 
even on the old raihng of Barhut : unfortunately we 
can only judge of this by a wretched sketch from a half- 
broken stone, and there is at present nothing to prove that, 
as Cunningham suggests, the leaves, or the feathers, which 
terminate the busts of the two monsters, « must have separ- 
ated their human trunks from their bird legs » Q. 

We consider ourselves none the less authorized by this 
inscription to consider the two numbers 178 and 180 as a 
replica of this same jdtaka : what other justification can be 
given for the edifying character of these scenes and for 
their introduction into the series? Certainly the subject is 
once again borrowed from one of the previous lives of the 
Master : the only question is exactly which « re-birth » is 
concerned. Here the two prolix pictures of Boro-Budur 
will be of assistance in determining retroactively the real 
identification of the bas-relief of Barhut, so poor in details. 
It is here quite clear, for example, that the scene of the 
adventure is a rocky solitude : we must at once put aside 
a certain episode in the Takkdriy a- jdtaka (no. 481), since it 
takes place in a royal court, where two Kinnaras, put in to a 
cage, refuse to display their talents. Moreover, we cannot 
fix upon the Candakinnara-jdtaka (no. 485), although that 

(i) We brought back a photograph of it : the inscription is : Kinmrayug- 

(2) Cunningham, Stupa of Barhut, p. 69 and pi. XXVII, 12 (cf. above, 
p. 53). GRiiNWEDEL, Buddhistische Studien, p. 92, points outtbat the connec- 
tion between the Kinnara-jdtaka of Barhut and that of Boro-Budur has 
already been shown by Heer J.-W. Yzerman in the Bijdragm tot de Taal-, 
Land- enVolhenhunde van Ned. /wi., Vijfde Volgreeks, d. I, afl. 4, pp. 577-579. 
Since the above was written representations of Kinnaras have also been 
found on the paintings of Central Asia. 


too has for scenery a piece of jungle : for our king is evi- 
dently not thinking ot killing the male Kinnara, in order to 
get possession of the female. It therefore remains for us to 
adopt the Bhalldtiya-jdtaka (no. 504), in which also we 
have nothing but conversations in a mountainous dis- 
trict ('). It is a most touching love story. The king ot 
Benares, while out hunting, surprises in the depth of the 
wood the extraordinary behaviour of two of these mar- 
vellous beings, and enquires why they cover each other 
ahernately with tears and caresses. He learns that 697 
years ago they were separated for one single night by the 
sudden swelling of a river; and in their life of a thousand 
years the loving couple have never yet been able to forget 
this cruel separation, or to console each other entirely for 
those few hours irremediably lost to their happiness. It will 
be observed on pi. XLI, i, that the sculptor has considered 
it his duty to maintain the hierarchical order, and has placed 
the male in front of the female, as if he were the interlocutor 
of the king: but in the text of the /ato^fl, just as in the famous 
Dantesque episode of Francesca di Rimini, it is the woman, 
always the more ready to speak, who relates their common 
adventure, whilst her lover stands silent by her side. 

IV.North-Eastern Corner. — Altogether we have offer- 
ed certain, or at least extremely probable, interpretations 
of 2 7 out of the 30 panels bordering upon the preceding cor- 
ner. The 30 still to be considered are much more refractory 
to all attempts at explanation. After Messrs. S. d 'Oldenburg, 

(i) In other words, relying on the replica of Boro-Budur, we believe we 
may for the bas-relief of Barhut leave aside the identifications proposed by 
Cunningham (loc. cit.) and Prof. Hultzsch {Ini. Ant., XXI, 1892, p. 226) 
and advocate that of Mr. S. J. Warren and of Dr. S. d'Oldenbdrg, who, 
besides, is right in believing it as not more demonstrable merely by the aid 
of the sole Indian document than the two others {loc. cit., p. 191). 


Speyer and Groneman we can quote as certain only the 
dentification of the MaitrakanyakdvaddnaQ'). For the rest, 
it would be useless to launch out into hypotheses, where 
we still lack the elements of proof; and even more so to 
renew the purely descriptive commentary which Leemans 
has given in full : for there is no task more idle than to des- 
cribe bas-reliefs without understanding them. Let us say in 
defence of the Dutch archseologist that access to the sources 
was for him almost impossible, and that he had at least the 
perspicacity to recognize « that the pictures of the lower 
series do not form a continuation of those of the upper ». 
On the north-eastern corner these latter extend from 
Buddha's attainment of the Bodhi to his first preaching. 
Below, the legend of Maitrakanyaka is related to us between 
two others, of whose titles we are still ignorant. Our first 
care, therefore, must be to-determine as exactly as possible 
where it commences and where it ends. The texts which 
have preserved it for us (^), and to which we are indebted 
for the explanation of the meaning of the bas-reliefs, agree 
in rendering the story in two symmetrical parts, separated by 
a turning-point. Maitrakanyaka, the orphan son of a ship- 
owner, follows at first various trades, in order to provide 
for the needs of his mother, to whom he successively offers 
gains increasing according to a geometrical progression 

(i) Cf. the already-quoted paper of Dr. S. d'Oldenburg, the Guide of 
Dr. J. Groneman, pp. 66-67, Speyer, Bijdragen tot de Taal- , Land- en Folken- 
kunde van Ned. -Indie, 1906, vd<= Deel., and for the comparison with Burmese 
and Siamese images, Gkunwedel, Buddh. Stud., p. 97. 

(2) The Avadana-Qatalta (ed. Speyer in Bibl. Buddhica, p. 193, and trans. 
Peer in the Ann. du Musee Guimet) gives us, it seems, a canonical version of 
it.No. XXXVIII of the Divydvaddna (ed. Cowell and Neil, p. 586) is already 
a literary rifacimento. Further, let us quote Bodhisattvdvaddmkalpalatd, 
no. 92, Bhadrakalpdvaddna, no. 28, and, for comparison, Jdtaka, nos. 41, 
82, 104, 369, 439. A Chinese version has been re-translated by Beal, Roman- 
tic Legend, p. 342. 


of 4, 8, 16, and 32 kdrshdpdms ; but, as she wishes to prevent 
him from following his father's example and going to sea, 
he forgets himself so far as to kick her prostrate head. The 
wreck of the ship which he has fitted out marks the culmin- 
ating point in the story, of which the second part corres- 
ponds, point for point, with the first. Having escaped death, 
Maitrakanyaka is, as a reward for his works, successively 
and amorously received at each halting-place by 4, 8, 
16 and 32 nymphs (apsaras) : but his adventurous spirit 
leads him still further and further, at last into a hell where 
sons who strike their mothers are punished. This symme- 
try must have been welcome to the sculptor, and must 
have dictated to him in his turn the arrangement of his bas- 
rehefs. Now the scene of the wreck is figured on no. 216 
of Leemans (pi. CXXIII), and the story does not end 
until no. 224. One might suppose, therefore, that the 
four pictures which precede no. 216 are likewise consecra- 
ted to Maitrakanyaka. One thing at least is certain, namely 
that he appears, already accompanied by his mother, on 
no. 212, at the corner of the north and east facades of the 
stupa. For the following ones we are entirely in accord 
with Prof. Speyer and Dr. Groneman. 

I. (The drawing of L., no. 212, pi, CXXI, is almost 
entirely missing). Under a mandapa Maitrakanyaka, seated 
on the ground with his hands joined, is offering to his mother 
a purse, which he has just placed before her upon a tray 
adorned with flowers (pi. XLI, 2). The bystanders are 
numerous : behind the mother are seven women, standing 
or crouching; behind the son may be counted five of his 
companions. Quite at the left a house is seen in outline. 
We reproduce in plate XLI, 2 only the central group, which 
alone is of importance for the identification of the scene. 
It will be observed that the left elbow of the mother is as 


though the joint were twisted : let us not hasten to cry 
out that this is a mistake on the part of the sculptor, or 
even a deformity, at least according to the native taste : the 
skilfully dislocated arms of the Javanese dancing-girls bend 
no otherwise in this position. 

2. (L., 214). An edifice cuts the panel into two distinct 
parts. On the right Maitrakanyaka is practising his last 
sedentary occupation, that of a goldsmith, as is proved by the 
small balance held by a woman, who may be either his 
mother or a simple customer. In the foreground a purse, 
bigger than that of the preceding picture, is doubtless sup- 
posed to contain the 3 2 kdrshdpams. The four legendary gifts 
would thus have been reduced by the sculptor to two. — 
On the left, in fact, despite the poor state of the bas-relief, 
we see the mother of Maitrakanyaka vainly prostrated at his 
feet (pi. XLII, i). Wilsenhad given her a moustache, which 
cut short all identification ; and this explains why that 
ofDr. S. d'Oldenburg, based upon the lithographs, began 
only at the following picture, that of the wreck. 

3. (L., 216). The supplications of his mother failed to 
restrain Maitrakanyaka; on the right we see the sad end of 
his sea-voyage, on the left his encounter with the four first 
nymphs. Here the sculptor seems to have been afraid 
neither of repeating himself nor of wearying the spectator 
by the sight of so many pretty women ; for we perceive 
successively : 

4. (L., 218). The encounter with the 8 nymphs; 

5. (L., 220). The encounter with the 16 nymphs (in 
point of fact they are 1 1); 

6. (L., 222). The encounter with the 32 nymphs (14 in 

7. (L., 224). At last the mania for roaming has led Mai- 
trakanyaka as far as a town of hell (pi. XLII, 2) : apparently 


he is gathering information from the terrible guardian of the 
place, whilst in the background we perceive, with a burn- 
ing wheel upon its head, the condemned soul whose 
place, unwittingly, he has come to take. For the rest both 
wear the same costume, with the exception of a few details 
in the form of their jewels. But these differences, slight 
though they be, exclude, it appears, the possibiUty of recog- 
nizing Maitrakanyaka a second time in the sufferer. There 
is every reason for believing, on the contrary, that, owing 
to a scruple of the artist, just as we did not see him strike 
his mother, so also we are not witnesses of his punish- 
ment : like his crime, his chastizement is only suggested. 
We must not forget, in fact, that he is the Bodhisattva in 
person. According to the texts, the wheel of fire has scarce- 
ly mounted upon his head, than he forms a vow to 
endure this terrible suffering for ever with a view to the 
salvation of humanity : whereupon he is immediately freed 
from all suffering. Does the left part of the panel forth- 
with represent this apotheosis? Or does the palisading 
which intersects the building, while at the same time 
determining the boundaries of the interior of the infernal 
town, serve as a framework for a new action? This it is 
almost impossible for us to decide, so long as we have not 
identified in their turn the eight panels of the following 
and final story. 

Let us sum up : the principal wall of the first gallery of 
Boro-Budur is decorated with 240 bas-reliefs, arranged in 
two rows; all those of the upper row have already been 
identified by the help of the Laliia-vistara ; thanks especially 
to the Divydvaddna, the same may now be said of two 
thirds of those of the lower row. This recapitulation of the 
results obtained not only encourages us to hope for the 


fortunate completion of this enterprise in a relatively 
near future : it also allows us to discern the ways and 
means to the ultimate success, as well as the difficulties 
which we shall continue to encounter. Among the first of 
these we must naturally place the absence of satisfactory 
reproductions. The long series which we have just examin- 
ed would doubtless have been recognized long ago, as were 
immediately the scenes, in two or three pictures, of the jdta- 
kas figured on the opposite wall, if the published drawings 
had been perfectly exact. But a slight inattention — such as, 
in the story of Maitrakanyaka, the change of sex of a person, 
or, in that of Rudrayana, the transformation of a monk into 
a Buddha — is, as may be conceived, sufficient to put us 
off the scent, and forces archaeologists who have not 
direct access to the originals to abandon the most judi- 
ciously chosen clue. We must, therefore, rejoice that the 
Government-General of the Dutch Indies has recently 
sanctioned the project of photographing all the sculptures 
still existing at Boro-Budur. Doubtless it will, with its 
accustomed generosity, not fail to distribute copies among 
the various societies for oriental studies. On this condition 
alone will the enigmas which still resist, although invaded 
on all four sides at once, finally yield to the collective 
researches of students of Buddhism; in the meantime we 
cannot legitimately reproach the latter for having left so 
long unexplained a monument of this importance. 

Does this mean that it is sufficient to cast one's eyes 
upon exact reproductions, or even upon the originals, of 
these bas-reliefs, whose narrative aim is not doubtful, in 
order to understand their meaning? The preceding identi- 
fications prove clearly enough that it is also necessary to 
know beforehand the story which they would tell. And, 
doubtless, the blame for this belongs to some extent to the 


sculptors : still it would be well, before devolving upon 
them the burden of our ignorance, to have present to our 
minds the conditions under which they must have worked. 
Firstly, enormous surfaces were given them to be covered : 
on the principal wall of the first gallery alone the 240 
panels there aligned have an area of more than 400 square 
metres ! In truth, it was not so much sculpture as decorative 
fresco-work that was exacted from them. Hence we 
understand why in the 120 pictures of the upper row they 
should have spun out the childhood and youth of their 
Master, whilst in the 120 of the lower one they somewhat 
lengthened out the ten avaddnas to which they had recourse 
in order to fill the space. It was materially impossible for 
them to keep solely to the picturesque or pathetic episodes, 
that is to those which alone had a chance of being imme- 
diately recognized by the spectator, and which were 
capable of forthwith arousing in the faithful of former 
days the memory of some tradition and in the archaeo- 
logist of to-day the recollection of some reading. For them 
every incident is good, provided that it lends itself docile- 
ly to representation. We may even ask ourselves whe- 
ther the most colourless motifs are not in their view the 
best. They are really too fond of scenes in which every- 
thing takes place by way of visits and conversations be- 
tween persons whose discreet gestures, such as are becom- 
ing to people of good company, tell us absolutely nothing 
concerning the course of events. If this abuse is, strictly 
speaking, excusable, they do not, in our opinion, escape 
the reproach of having more than once evaded the difficulty 
by intentionally omitting, and replacing by insipid recep- 
tions at court, subjects more dramatic and consequently 
better fitted to make us grasp the thread of the story ('). 

(i) It is, of course, understood that we are here speaking from the point 


Not only are the characteristic episodes thus drowned 
in a dull, monotonous flood of pictures without move- 
ment, but even in each picture the principal motif^ is 
often'submerged under a veritable debauch of accessories 
and details. The only excuse here for the artists is to be 
found in the form of the frame, which is at least three times 
as wide as it is high. Consequently there is no great per- 
sonage whose cortege is not spread out to form a wall- 
covering, sometimes over several rows. True, the presence 
of these numerous dumb actors is quite conformable to 
Javanese, as well as to Indian, custom; but it is understood 
that most often they take no part in the action : they con- 
fine themselves to crowding it with their stereotyped 
repetition, which is more or less compensated by the variety 
of the attitudes, always deftly treated. This is not all : the 
sculptors have made it, as it were, a point of honour not to 
leave vacant any part of the surface at their disposal. In 
order to complete the furnishing of their panels, they go 
so far as to fill the space beneath the seats with coffers or 
vases (cf. pll. XXXV, i ; XXXVIII, 2 ; XXXIX, i ; XL, i); 
at the top they heap together, according to circumstances, 
buildings or trees, naturally figured on a reduced scale; or 
again rocks, treated according to the old Indian convention 
(cf. pll. XXXVII, 2, upper scene; XLI, i); or, finally, ani- 

of view of the identification of these bas-reliefs. Ail the less must we forget 
that we are treating of images of piety, the more mindful the sculptors 
themselves were of this. Their evident decision to put aside all scenes of 
violence (bloody sacrifices, executions, murders, parricide, etc.) offered by 
their subjects, is justified, like their irreproachable chastity, by the desire 
to arouse in the mind of the faithful none but calm and collected, in one 
word, truly Buddhist impressions. This they have perfectly succeeded in 
doing, and we are rather in the wrong to reproach them for it. It is not 
entirely their fault if our western taste, corrupted by an excessive striving 
for expression and movement, is especially affected by the monotony of these 
series, whose edifying character remains to us a dead letter. 


mals of all kinds, cleverly sketched, indeed, from life, with 
the single exception of the horses, which are mediocre (cf. 
pi. XXXVI, 2, upper scene). It may be imagined that the 
clearness of the story is not much enhanced by this 
crowding, the more so as there is nothing to tell us, for 
example, whether the animals play a part in it or not : 
for the worst is that they sometimes do so. Thus the 
birds represented in the QiU-jdtalta (pi. XXXVI, 2), or on 
such and such a scene from the MAndhdtravaddna (no. 10), 
form an integral part of the story, whilst those which fly 
away with Manohara (pi. XXXIV, 2) are pure decoration. 
Finally, we must not forget that the artists of Boro-Budur 
did not in any way forbid themselves the use of the ancient 
expedients of the Indian school, juxtaposition of two or 
three distinct episodes and repetition of a person in the 
same picture. Thus it may happen — and on this point the 
reading of Leemans' descriptions is particularly edifying — 
that in the midst of such confused masses we fail to fix 
upon the sole actors, or objects, whose presence is of real 
importance for the concatenation of the facts. 

But the chief and most evident fault of these bas-reliefs 
is the persistent incapacity of their authors, in spite of 
their manual skill, to create figures having a characteristic 
individuality. Assuredly, it would be unfair to regard it as 
a crime on the part of the artists of those distant isles not 
to have reached a pinnacle of art which remained unknown 
to the Indian school and to which Greek art itself attained 
only atits best period. Butthefactis patent. They arecapable 
of representing types, but not individuals. They possess a 
model of a king, which serves without distinction for 
gods, as does that of the queen for goddesses; a model of 
a monk, which, with the exception of the coiffure, is 
equally suitable for Buddhas ; a model of a courtier, an 


anchorite, a Brahman, a warrior, etc. This stock figure 
is used by them on all occasions. According to the circum- 
stances it is capable, by the play of gesture and even by 
facial features, of expressing different states of mind : 
it is incapable of assuming a physiognomy distinguishing 
it from its congeners. Thus it is that, for example, in the 
same legend we have seen the same princely personage 
called here Dhana, Sudhana, or Druma, there Rudrayaria, 
Bimbisara, or Qlikhandin. At a distance of five panels 
(cf. pU. XXXVII, 2 and XXXIX, 3) a king and a monk are 
similarly engaged in conversation with each other : no- 
thing warns us that in the interval they have both changedT^ 
their personalities. It would not appear that in ancient 
times the pilgrim who made the pradakshind of these galleries 
was able without the oral commentary of some monkish 
cicerone to ascribe different names to figures so similar : 
still less can we, now that the local tradition is completely 
extinct, dispense with a written commentary. We may 
affirm that we shall succeed in identifying on the walls of 
Boro-Budur only those bas-reliefs of which we have 
somewhere read the legend : and, again, the example of 
the Sudhanakumdrdvaddna proves that we must have read it 
in the same work as had the sculptor. 

This bookish character of the sculptures of Boro-Budur 
is from the philological point of view the most curious 
conclusion to which we are led by our rapid inquiry direc- 
ted to the particular point of view of their identification. If 
these bas-rehefs cannot be understood except by a constant 
comparison with the texts, it is because they were com- 
posed after the texts and to serve as illustrations thereto. 
Through the lithographic reproductions the manner in 
which the Javanese artists treated the last life of Buddha 
had already given us an inkling of this : the direct study 


of the originals and the review of the neighbouring series 
only confirm us in this opinion ('). It follows that these 
sculptures not only give us information on many concrete 
details of contemporary Javanese life and civilization : they 
also reveal to us which version of the Buddhist writ- 
ings was most readily used in Java at that time. Thus we 
know already from the manner in which the artist illustra- 
ted the legend of Prince Sudhana, that he followed the 
Sanskrit text preserved by the Divydvaddna, and not the 
Prakrit version of the Mahdvastu. The three other certainly 
identified avaddnas, those of Mandhatar, Rudrayana, and 
Maitrakanyaka, Hkewise attest the current custom of draw- 
ing from this canonical fund of which the Divydvaddna is 
a kind of anthology. Now the independent researches of 
MM. Ed. Huber and Sylvain L^vi have shown simultane- 
ously that this last collection is, for the most part, taken 
from the Vinaya-pitaka of the Mula-Sarvastivadins ; and, on 
the other hand, the Chinese tell us that the Lalita-vistara, 
which is followed page after page by the bas-reliefs of the 
upper row, belongs to the same school Q. The study of 
the sculptures of Boro-Budur authorizes, therefore, the 
supposition that the canon of the Mula-Sarvastivadins was 
that best known in Java. Perhaps this preference was due to 
the prestige of the Sanskrit, in which it was edited, and 
to what may be called its higher « exportation value », 
as compared with the Prakrit of the Mahasahghikas, or 
the Pali of the Sthaviras. However this may be, the hypo- 
thesis is clearly confirmed by the categorical informa- 
tion furnished by the Chinese traveller Yi-tsing; in his 
time, he tells us, — towards the year 700 of our era, that is 

(i) Art greco-bouddhique du Gandhara, vol. I, p. 617. 
(2) Cf. Ed. Huber, B. £. F. E.-0.,VI, 1906 and S. Lfivi, Toungpao, series 
II, vol. VIII, no. I ; Beal, Romantic Legend, pp. 386-7. 



to say, scarcely a century before the foundation of Boro- 
Budur, — « in the Islands of the Southern Sea the Mula- 
Sarvdstivddanikdya hiis been almost universally adopted (') ». 
This agreement in the evidences deserves to be noticed. All 
taken into account, it does not impair the interest of our 
bas-reUefs. Assuredly, in spite of the talent of their authors, 
they were condemned beforehand to lack that indefinable 
spontaneity and animation which can be communicated to 
the work of the artist only by labour in communion with 
a still living oral tradition. The sculptors of Boro-Budur, 
in the effort to revive an inspiration at times languishing, 
have had to be content with dipping into foreign and 
already ancient texts : but, on the other hand, they have 
the merit of having suppHed us with several series of illus- 
trations for authentic fragments of the sacred scriptures 
of Buddhism, treated with a technical skill which would 
deserve to be studied in detail by those whose metier it is. 
If our conclusions run the risk of somewhat lessening the 
sesthetic value of their works, the documentary interest 
emerges, by way of compensation, considerably increased. 


Buddhist Iconography in Java. 

Boro-Budur. — We shall not undertake a detailed review 
of the bas-reUefs deployed along the upper galleries of the 
stupa. We restrict ourselves to noticing that, as we mount, 
they assume a character more and more iconographic, less 
and less « narrative », and that the edifying story finally 

(i) I-TsiNG, A record of the Buddhist Religion, trans. Takakoso, p. lo. Lit. 
« there is almost only one...)). 


gives way to the image of piety Q. Buddha, monks, 
nuns, Bodhisattvas of both sexes file past in twenties, at 
times seated under trees more or less stereotyped, most 
often installed undertheopen porches oftemples, just as they 
are seen on the miniatures, or the clay seals, of India (')• 
The sculptors weary so much the less of all these repeti- 
tions as each one of them represents so much progress in 
covering the considerable surface which it was their task 
to decorate. There would be no advantage in noting here 
and there in passing a few specially characteristic figures, 
such as, in the second gallery, some Avalokite^varas with 
four or six arms, and a Maujugri carrying the Indian book 
(pustakd) on the blue lotus (iitpala) ; or again, in the third 
gallery, a group composed of a Buddha between these 
same two Bodhisattvas, etc. The problem is much more 
vast, and demands a solution of very different amplitude. 
It would be necessary to make a census of all these images 
and each of their varieties, to draw up an exact and com- 
plete table of them, and to study attentively their graphic 
distribution ; then only, after having allowed for the necess- 
ities of decoration and having among this crowd of idols 
discerned the really essential types, we might attempt the 
identification of what for the artists of Java constituted the 
Buddhist pantheon. We must hope that some Dutch 
archaeologist will find time to undertake this deUcate and 
extensive task; it is unnecessary to say that it is forbidden 
to a simple visitor. 

Neither shall we dwell upon the hundreds of statues 
which decorate this siupa of the « Many Buddhas » (for 
such would be the meaning of the word Boro-Budur) ^ but 

(i) But see, supra, the identification ofoneof the bas-reliefs of the upper 
gallery, pp. 165-6 and pi. XXII (Great Miracle of ^rivasti). 
(2) Cf. Elude sur Viconogr. bouddhique de I'lnde, I, 1900, pp, 45-6. 

256 BtJt)t)EtlSt ARt In JAVA 

here the reason for our abstention is quite diflferent. They 
were, in fact, classified long ago, and W. de Humboldt 
proposed to recognize among them, in accordance with 
Hodgson's Nepalese drawings, the images of the five 
Dhyani-Buddhas. The identification has since been gener- 
ally admitted, and in principle we see no reason for con- 
testing it : at the most it would need to be pressed fur- 
ther and completed. The arrangement of the groups must 
in any case be remade. Among these manifold repHcas 
with heads generally well treated and expressive, but 
effeminate and bloated bodies, all seated in padmdsana and 
only differentiated by the gestures of the hands, we must, 
in fact, distinguish : 

1 . in the four first rows of niches (in the proportion of 
92 to each facade), to the east, those in bhumispar(a-mu- 
drd (') ; 

2 . at the south, those in vara-mudrd ; 

3 . at the west, those in dhydni-mudrd ; 

4. at the north, those in ahhaya-mudrd; 

5 . in the fifth row of niches, on the four facades (viz. 
64 altogethe r), those in vitarka-mudrd; 

6. in the 72 little open cupolas of the three circular 
terraces, those in dharmacakra-mudrd ; 

7. the single image found under the great central 

Whatever identification may be proposed, will, it is 
understood, have to take into account each of these varie- 
ties, without omission and without confusion. There- 
fore we cannot admit that of Humboldt (*), which 
confuses and mixes up nos. 4 and 5. If we must identify 

(i) For the mudras, or gestures of the hands, cf. ibid., p. 68. 
(2) Cf. Leemans, he. cit., p. 480. 


1 . Akshobhya, by the gesture of calling the earth to witness, 

2. Ratnasambhava, by the gesture of giving, 3. Amitabha, 
by the gesture of meditation, 4. Amoghasiddha, by the 
gesture of protection, it is clear that in the last row of 
niches we must recognize, 5. the fifth Dhyani-Buddha, 
Vairocana, by the gesture of discussion, although the ges- 
ture of teaching is more usually reserved for him and 
although, on the other hand, the vitarka-mudrd is scarcely 
distinguished from the abhaya-mudrd by the fact that in it 
the index-finger is joined to the thumb. It follows likewise 
that with the five rows ofniches belonging to the polygon- 
al galleries we have, as was natural, exhausted the list of 
the five Dhyani-Buddhas. 

6. The 72 images of the circular terraces would then 
all be consecrated to the historic Buddha, Qakya-muni, and 
would exhibit him teaching. 

7. As for the purposely unfinished statue which was 
discovered under the great central cupola, it has been the 
subject of many hypotheses. Dr. Pleyte regards it as the 
last enigma of Boro-Budur : <c The great Dagaba », he 
says Q, « was formerly without any opening; but at pre- 
sent one can have access right into the interior, part of 
the wall having been removed. The removal brought to 
light a hidden image of Buddha, which represents him 
seated in hhumisparQa-mudrd. This image of Buddha is thus 
the centre of the sanctuary. By reasori of its incomplete 
form it is considered by Groeneveldt to be a representation 
of the Adi-Buddha. This would be a manner of symboU- 
zing the abstract essence of this supreme divinity of Maha- 
yanism. Kern, on the contrary, recognizes in this unfinish- 

(i) C. M. Pleyte, Dk Buddhalegende in den Skulpturen des Tempels von 
Boro-Budur, Amsterdam, 190 1-2, p. ix. For the bibliography see ibid., 
notes on pages i-in. 


ed figure an embryo Buddha : this would be an allusion 
to the Bodhisattva in the womb of his mother... » If these 
diverse interpretations fail to satisfy us any more than 
they did Dr. Pleyte, the short resum^ which he gives of 
them is at least sufficient for our purpose. We do not 
indeed pretend to discuss here the greater or less degree 
of probabiUty in these theories. Still less shall we stop to 
criticize that of Wilsen, who saw in this same statue a rough 
model of a future Buddha, prepared for subsequent com- 
pletion by the cunning priests (*)• In truth, speculations of 
this kind are scarcely more susceptible of refutation than 
of proof; and it is this which makes us suspicious of them. 
If we in our turn venture a new hypothesis, it is because 
we should prefer to seek the solution of this problem of 
archaeology elsewhere than in the messianic, symbolical 
or theistic conceptions more or less familiar in such and 
such forms of Indian Buddhism. 

Let us, then, make a tabula rasa of all this metaphysics 
and consider again, as briefly as possible, the essential 
elements of the question. Under the central dome of the 
stupa of Boro-Budur, at the spot where we should expect 
to find the usual deposit of rehcs, or at least the upper 
deposit — for it happens sometimes that there are along the 
perpendicular which joins the summit to the base several 
of them, one above the other — was discovered an image 
of Buddha, whose emplacement sufficed to prove its spe- 
cially sacred character. Now this statue was intentionally 
left unfinished : « The hair, the ears, the hands and the 
feet are not completed », says Leemans; and further on he 
adds : « One is forced to admit that the artist who made 
the plan of the whole really had a premeditated intention 

(i) Cf. Leemans, op. cit., pp. 486-7. 


of leaving the statue of the central sanctuary in the state 
in which we possess it (*). » On the other hand, this 
image shows us Buddha seated, his legs crossed in the 
Indian manner, the left hand resting in his lap, his right 
hand hanging down, the palm turned inwards and the 
fingers stretched toward the ground. Before committing 
ourselves to any apocalyptical explanation of this figure 
it is well, in point of method, to ask ourselves, first of all, 
whether the iconography of India, the recognized model 
for that of Java, does not comprise any type of Buddha 
composed in the same attitude and presenting the same 
peculiarity of in completion. 

If it were permissible to judge by the facility of the solu- 
tion, the question would in this case be well put : at least, 
in order to answer, it is not necessary to push far our 
interrogation of the Indian tradition. The two most celebra- 
ted prototypes of the pretended portrait images of Buddha 
are that of Kau^ambi (or ^ravasti) and that of Mahabodhi, 
near to Gaya. The former is in this case out of the ques- 
tion. Concerning the second we possess two versions of 
an identical legend, the one reported by Hiuan-tsang, the 
other by Taranatha Q. Anxious before all to guarantee the 
authentic resemblance of the image, they naturally attribute 
its execution to a supernatural artist : on two points they 
seem none the less in harmony with historic truth. First 
of all, we learn from the texts, in the most formal manner, 
that the original work was regarded — rightly or wrongly, 
matters not - — as not being finished, an accident which 
people were unanimous in explaining as due to an unfor- 

(i) See the discussion, be. cit., pp. 484-6. 

(2) See, for the first, the translation of Stan, Julien, II, pp. 465 sqq., 
or of S. Seal, II, pp. 120 sqq.; and, for the second, the translation of 

SCHIEFNER, p. 20. 


tunate interruption in the mysterious work of the divine 
sculptor.Among the unfinished parts Taranatha cites espe- 
cially the toe of the right foot and the locks of hair. Whilst 
these material details would be less easy of verification 
than might be thought in the obscurity in which, asHiuan- 
tsang tells, the majesty of the idol was hidden, there is some 
appearance that this general belief in its state of incomple- 
teness was in one way or another well-founded. In the 
second place, and in any case, it is a fact attested by the 
monuments, as also by the descriptions of the texts, that 
it represented Buddha « seated, the left hand at rest, and 
the right hanging », at the moment when, disturbed from 
his meditations by the assaults of Mara, he touched the 
earth with his fingers, in order to invoke it as witness ('). 
In short, the image of « Vajrasana of Mahabodhi », to use 
the term under which it was known, made the gesture of 
bhumisparfa, and was, or — which for us comes to the 
same thing — passed for being, incomplete. 

We leave to experts the task of concluding. To us this 
double rapprochement appears sufficiently precise to allow 
of our putting forward the idea that the central Buddha of 
Boro-Budur, incomplete siud in bhumisparga-mudrd, is, or at 
least intends to be, nothing but a replica of the statue of 
Bodh-Gaya. In addition to its simplicity, the hypothesis has 
also this great advantage, that it frees us from the necess- 
ity of attributing exceptionally to the artists of Java, always 
so respectful towards Indian tradition, the creation of a new 
model which India would not have known. Finally, if it 
does away with one difficulty, in our opinion a consider- 
able one, we do not think that it raises another in its 

(i) The references are to be found in our Etude sur V Iconographie boud- 
dhique de Vlnde, I, pp. 90-94. 


place. It is a fact historically established by Chinese evi- 
dence that from the VII* to the XI"' century of our era — 
that is, during the period covering the construction of 
Boro-Budur, which is attributed to the second half of the 
IX"' century — the « True Visage of the Throne of Dia- 
mond » , or « of Intelligence » , was the most venerated 
Buddhist idol in India, and even the model most in request 
for exportation 0), whilst the temple of Mahabodhi had 
become the greatest centre of pilgrimage. This would 
explain without effort why a more or less faithful copy of 
this miraculous image should have been able to assume a 
character sufficiently sacred to merit being placed by the 
Javanese architects in the hollow of the great stupa of the 
Indian Archipelago, just as the original reposed under the 
arches of the famous sanctuary of Magadha. 

Such, at least, is the hypothesis which we could not 
help long ago Q submitting to Indianists, with all the 
respect inspired by the experience of our predecessors 
and the reservations imposed by the necessity, in which 
we still were, of trusting to the descriptions of others. At 
the time of our visit to Boro-Budur we found nothing 
to add concerning this statue, inasmuch as it was still in 
the same state in which Dr. Pleyte had seen it, once again 
covered up to the neck and left in a state of abandonment 
very unworthy of all the ink which it had caused to flow. 
Thus we were obliged to restrict ourselves to reiterating 
the wish that it might once again be cleared and more 
closely studied. If we have returned in some detail to this 
subject, it is because in the interval this wish has been ful- 
filled, and because the kindness of Major Van Erp allows 

(i) Cf. Ed. Chavannes, Les Inscriptions chinoises de Bodh-GayS- in Revue de 
I'Histoire des Religions, vol. XXXIV, i, 1896. 
(2) B. £. F. E.-O., Ill, 1903, pp. 78-80, whence these pages are taken. 


US to produce at last a photograph of this famous idol 
(pi. XLIII, i). Perhaps this latter will be for the reader a 
disillusionment : in fact it merely sketches in a rather 
rough fashion the ordinary type ofBuddhas of Boro-Budur, 
and it is quite clear that, if a replica of the image of Vajra- 
sana is really intended, it was executed freely and not 
from a moulding. But upon a moment's reflection it will 
be seen that this was exactly what was to be expected; 
and, in any case, it is well once for all to place before the 
eyes of the public the decisive piece of evidence in a dispute 
which otherwise would run the risk of being endless. 

The Chandi Mendut. — It would be a task more within our 
reach to identify, by way of a specimen, the images which 
decorate the Chandi Mendut. This edifice, placed in the axis 
of the oriental gate of, and at three kilometres from, Boro- 
Budur, consists, in fact, of a cdla only, with a vestibule in 
front. The whole is, according to the Javanese custom, 
perched on a terrace in the same manner as are the Brah- 
manic temples of Parambanam.In Buddhist terminology it is 
what is properly called a vihdra ('). Naturally it shelters sta- 
tues, and the walls of its entrance vestibule, hke the exterior 
faces of the building, are decorated with figures whose purely 
Buddhist character may be recognized at once by anyone 
who is a little familiar with the Indian iconography of this 
religion. The building, fairly well preserved, except in the 
upper parts, has been the object of a restoration the archi- 

(i) We know that the meaning of this term (temple of divinity or monk's 
cell) has been unduly extended by European archseologists to the whole of 
the monastery (Cf. Art g.-b. du Gandhara, p. 99). — We deliberately leave 
aside the other Buddhist edifices which we likewise visited in the neigh- 
bourhood of Jogyakarta under the guidance of Dr. J. Groneman, and on 
which we may consult his guide, entitled Boeddhistische Tempel-en KloosUr- 
Bouwvalknin de Parambanan-Vlakte, Soerabaia, 1907. 


tectural details of which we shall not undertake to discuss. 
The three enormous statues of the cella have been replaced 
on their pedestals ('). They are characterized by a curious 
detail. Whereas at Boro-Budur, and even on the walls of 
the Chandi Mendut, the nimbuses of the divine personages 
retain, as in Southern India, the simply oval form, those 
of the three figures rise to a point, like the leaf of the 
Bodhi-tree, in the Sino-Japanese fashion. It would be 
interesting to date as exactly as possible the appearance of 
this form in Java. It would, in fact, mark with sufficient cer- 
tainty the moment when the two great currents of artistic 
influence, which, diverging from their common Indian 
source, had followed respectively the land routes through 
Central Asia and the sea route south-eastwards, met again 
in the island and there, so to speak, closed their circuit ('). 
The central statue, about m. 2,50 high, cut out of an 
enormous block of andesite, represents a Buddha seated 
in the European manner, the hands joined in the gesture 
of teaching. Not only the dsana and the mudrd, but even 
the details of the hair, the lotus-stool, the throne with a 
back, etc., recall in a striking manner the images found at 
Sarnath, in the northern suburb of Benares, on the tradi- 
tional site of the master's first preaching (cf. Icon, houddh., 
I, fig. 10). Besides, to cut short all discussion, the lower 
band of the pedestal is still stamped with a « wheel of the 
law », accompanied by the two characteristic antelopes ot 
the Mrigadava. 

On each side of the teaching Qakya-muni, on a throne 
having a back likewise adorned with superposed animals, a 
Bodhisattva is seated in lalitdkshepa, the left leg bent back, 
the right foot hanging down and resting on a lotus. At the 

(i) Cf. B. £. F. E.-O., IX, 1909,?. 831. 


right of Buddha Avalokitefvara may at once be recognized, 
thanks to the effigy of Amitabha which he bears in his 
headdress. As usual, his right hand makes the gesture of 
charity; his left is folded back in the position of discussion, 
but without at the same time holding a lotus (cf, ibid., 
pi, V, 2). His counterpart, with the palm of his left hand 
leaning on the ground and the right hand turned back in 
front of his chest, does not present any particular mark 
allowing us to determine his identity. It is solely the tra- 
ditional force of custom which compels us to attribute to 
him the name of Mafijucri : the more so as, after having 
despoiled these two acolytes of every characteristic attri- 
bute, the sculptor must for a means of recognition have 
relied upon their simple presence by the side of Buddha. 

The walls of the vestibule bear on the right and left, in 
panels of about m. 1,90 X m. i, figures of the genius of 
wealth and his wife Hariti, which have already been publish- 
ed by Dr. J. Ph. Vogel ('). We shall not insist further upon 
them. Of the principal facade of the temple — exceptionally 
oriented towards the north-west instead of to the east — 
only the wall to the left of the entrance is preserved ; it 
bears a standing Bodhisattva, holding a lotus surmounted 
by a stupa : it seems that we must by this sign recognize 
Maitreya (cf. ibid., pp. 112-3). 

If we now commence on the terrace the pradakshind of 
the monument, we come first to the north-eastern facade. In 
the middle of the central panel, framed by pilasters bearing 
atlantes in their capitals, we see, seated on a throne covered 
with a lotus and under a stereotyped tree, a feminine divin- 
ity with eight arms. Unfortunately the head is broken; 
but it seems, in fact, that it had only one face; and this 

(i) B. £. F. E.-O., IV (1904), pp. 727-730 : ct. above, p. 141 and 
below, pi. XLVIII, 2. 


suffices to put aside the identification with the Vajra-Tara 
with four faces (ibid., II, 1905, p. 70) in favour of Cunda 
(ibid., I, p. 146 and pi. VIII, 4). Her right arms do hold 
the shell, the thunderbolt, the disc, and the rosary. Of her 
left arms, the first from the top is broken; the three others 
carry an elephant's hook (ankugd), an arrow, and some 
object which we could not distinguish. On either side 
stands a Bodhisattva holding a flyflap : the one on the right 
has further the pink lotus of Avalokite^vara, the one on the 
left the blue lotus of Manju^ri. Finally, on the two lateral 
panels, the same standing Bodhisattva, his right hand in 
the varamudrd, bears a flower quite analogous to the ndga- 
pushpa of Maitreya (ibid., I, fig. 14). 

On the next facade the central figure is an Avalokite- 
cvara with four arms(i^R, I, p. 104, etc.). One of its right 
arms, which is broken, must have been lowered in the 
gesture of giving, whilst the other holds up a rosary. A 
pink lotus and a book adorn the left hands ; the flagon of 
ambrosia rests upon another lotus on the same side. Two 
feminine attendants, doubtless forms of Tara, worship 
him. In the Bodhisattvas figured on the two lateral panels 
the thunderbolt with which both are armed proclaims Vaj- 

The principal figure of the south-western, and last, 
facade is again feminine (pi. XLIV). She is seated in the 
Indian manner upon a lotus supported by two ndgas. The 
two attributes of the upper pair of hands, on the right the 
rosary and on the left the book^should indicate the Prajna- 
paramitawith four arms (ibid., pi. IX, 3 and 4). But in that 
case the normal hands should make the gesture of teaching, 
instead of that of meditation. Similarly, if she were a 
four-armed Tara, the first right hand should make the ges- 
ture of charity (ibid., II, p. 63). The symbols and the alti- 


tudes combine, therefore, to indicate a second representa- 
tion of the goddess Cunda, the form with four arms (ibid., 
pi. VIII, 3 and figure 24). The two Bodhisattvas, her attend- 
ants, reproduce exactly those of her counterpart on the 
opposite facade. As regards those of the lateral panels, the)^ 
carry on blue lotuses a sword and a book respectively : 
we must, therefore, see in them two replicas of the same 
Maiiju^ri, of whom these are the two traditional emblems 
(ibid., p. 119). 

To sum up : in the personages who decorate the exte- 
rior of the three unpierced faces of the temple of Men- 
dut we propose at first sight to recognize, in the middle, 
two images of Cunda with four and eight arms, and one 
of Avalokitefvara with four arms; on the sides, two repli- 
cas each ofMaitreya, Vajrapaniand Manjugri : all being im- 
portant figures of the Buddhist pantheon. But, naturally, 
this preUminary review would have to be severely tested. 
It would be necessary, in particular, to examine these bas- 
rehefs more closely with the help of ladders or a hanging 
stage, so that no detail could escape; and, this minute 
labour accomphshed, it would still be necessary to verify 
by comparison with other Buddhist statues of Javanese 
origin whether there is not occasion to modify in some 
measure, for local reasons, the Indian attribution of these 
images. At that cost only could these too rapid identifica- 
tions become reasonably certain. 

The Museum of Batavia. — We have just spoken of a 
kind of general confrontation of the Buddhist statues of 
Java. The material would not be lacking, in spite of the 
relatively restricted number of Buddhist monuments in 
the island. Many of them have already been brought 
together, both in a building near to the residency of Jogya- 


karta and in the museum of the Asiatic Society of Batavia. 
Of the first collection a catalogue has been published by 
Dr. Groneman. The most interesting objects to be men- 
tioned in the second are some inscribed images of the 
Dhyani-Buddhas Akshobhya(no. 224)andRatnasambhava 
(no. 225), of the gakti Locana (no. 248"), of Tara in the 
form of Bhrikuti (no. 112"), of Hayagriva (no. 76"), etc. 
Every one will appreciate the interest of these names (*), 
taken at hasard from our notes on the lapidary museum. 

We must likewise mention as belonging to the museum 
of the capital a considerable collection of small figures of 
more or less precious metals (gold, silver, or bronze), 
which are for the most part already classed Q). Let us cite 
among others some very artistic statuettes of Avaloki- 
tefvara, Vajrasattva, Kuvera, Tara, Marici, etc. All have 
this in common, that they are remarkably faithful to their 
Indian models. 

There is one at which it is perhaps worth while to stop 
for a moment, because of the rarety of the type in India 
and the success which it has had in the Far East. We have 
already had to occupy ourselves with the sole example pre- 
served by chance at Bodh-Gaya. Now Dr. Pleyte — and 
we apologize for not having known this reference at the 
time — had for his part pubhshed three Javanese repli- 
cas (^), one of which is now in London, another at Lei- 

(i) Several of these statues have already been published by the late 
J. L. A. Brandes, Beschrifving van de mine... Tjandi Djago, The Hague and 
Batavia, 1904. 

(2) For access to this collection we are indebted to the kindness of 
Dr. C. M. Pleyte, who was so good as to take the trouble of opening the 
glass-cases for us. 

(3) Cf. Bijdragen tot dc Tad-, Land- en Volkenkunde van Ned.-Ind., Zesde 
Volgreeks, Tiende Deel, afl. i and 2, pp. 195-202, and our £t. sur I'Icon. 
houddh. de I'lnde, IIj 1905, fig. 4- 


den, and the third at Batavia (pi. XLIII, 2). He had likewise 
the merit of discovering in Schiefner Q a legend which 
explained the bellicose pose of this divinity, whose left 
foot treads upon the face of a man, and his right upon the 
bosom of a woman. This would be a mode of deciding, 
with no possible equivocation, the question of the supre- 
macy of a simple Buddhist « guardian of the law » over 
the great god of the Brahmans. ^iva had the imprudence 
to refuse obedience to Vajrapani under the pretence that 
the latter was only a yaksha : contemplate for your own 
edification the punishment of his crime. We in our turn 
may note that on this point the descriptions of the sddhanas, 
or magic charms, confirm the Tibetan tradition by Hkewise 
giving to the persons overthrown the names of Mahe- 
fvara and his wife Gauri : while for the genius, instead 
of making of him simply a furious transformation of 
Vajrapaiii, they use the more precise appellation of Trailo- 
kyavijaya. Let us add that this last reappears among the 
divinities of the Japanese pantheon under the vulgar desig- 
nation of Gosanze. His pose has notchanged, nor his double, 
living pedestal ; and, if he has no longer more than one 
pair of arms, his hands, at least, continue to execute the 
vajrahutnkdra-mudrd characteristic of his anger and com- 
mon to all his representations Q. On the Javanese sta- 
tuette we find again the four visages which the Sanskrit 
manuscripts and the stele of Magadha ascribe to him, and 
even the eight attributes (sword, disc, arrow and bell, 

(i) A. Schiefner, Eine tibetische Lebensbeschreibung Qakyamuni's, p. 244. 

(2) Cf, J. Hoffman, Pantheon von Nippon (vol. V, of the Beschreibun<r 
von Japan of Von Siebold), p. 75 and pi. XIX, fig. 164; and Si-do-in-diou 
{Ann.duMusuGuimet, Bibl. d'etudes, vol. VIII, Paris, 1899), pp. 100- 
loi and pi. XII. 


thunderbolt, elephant's goad, lasso and bow) which they 
agree in placing in his eight hands. 

Any special inquiry would lead us, we believe, to this 
double conclusion : on the one hand, the close fihation of 
the Javanese Buddhist images in relation to their Indian pro- 
totypes, and, on the other hand, their more or less distant 
kinship with the Tibetan, Chinese, or Japanese idols, deri- 
ved from the same origin. If no profound divergence from 
the composition or style of the common models seems to 
guarantee to this province of Buddhist iconography any 
great originality, its interest, on the other hand, promises to 
extend far beyond the local horizon. It is important for the 
general advancement of Asiatic studies that it should at 
last form as a whole the subject of some pubhcation. Not 
only would the harvest be abundant, but we have carried 
away the impression that it is ripe and ready to be gather- 
ed. It is much to be desired that the enlightened govern - 
ment of the rich colony should provide some Dutch savant 
with the necessary leisure. 

[Note additional to note i on p. 214 : Upon reperusing M. August Earth's 
Bulletins des Religions de I'Inde ( Rev. de VHist. des Religions, t. XLV, 
1902, p. 354 n. I, or vol. II, p. 442 n. i, of the edition of his CEuvres) we 
see that the identification suggested above for the bas-relief no. 14 ot 
Dr. Pleyte's publication has been already proposed by him. He works out 
in full the same interpretation : « That the maternal womb, the scene of 
the central incident, has been omitted, is entirely in conformity with the 
conventions of this art... » We are doubly fortunate in finding ourselves 
ex post facto at one with him and in rendering to him the priority as regards 
the identification.] 



Cf. pp. 206-7, 213-5. 

I. — View of Boro-Budur as it slill appeared in 1907; by the care of 
Major Van Erp the stone seat contrived on the summit with a vitw to 
the more comfortable contemplation of the magnificent scenery has 
since been removed, and the original lines of the top cupola have 
been partly restored. (Cf. pp. 206-7.) 

II. — Our photograph represents the central part of the first gallery 
on the western face, at the point where it is crossed by the western 


On the light, at the top, we distinguish in the upper row of the 
bas-reliefs the two last of the Bodhisattva's four promenades, nam.ely, 
the rencontre with the dead man and wiih the monk. The correspond- 
ing bas-reliefs of the lower row have not yet been explained. On 
ihe other hand, from the place where the view is taken, we cannot 
see the two rows of sculptures which correspondingly decorate the 
moulded parapet to the left. (Cf. pp. 213-5.) 








„ a Cf pp. 209 1 1 , 

The three following drawings (section, plan and outline of Boro- 
Budur) have been obligingly communicated by Major Van Erp, and 
they present in consequence every guarantee of accuracy. 

I. — The present elevation replaces that published in the B. E. . 
F. E. O., 1909, fig. 3 (cf. ibid., p. 831), which, not being a normal 
section, had led us into error. The curve a b follows the original line 
of the sttlpa ; the whole portion situated to the right of the point b and 
marked by divergent hatchings represents the terrace subsequently 
added, under which is at present buried the ancient base with its deco- 
ration already half accomplished. (Cf. pp. 208 n. i and 210.) 

II. — The plan corresponds exactly in dimensions with the eleva- 
tion placed above. Just as the elevation shows the arrangement of the 
decorative architectural elements, niches and cupolas, so the plan 
enables us to get a clear idea of the distribution of the galleries, both 
polygonal and circular, of the staircases, and of the gargoyles for car- 
rying off the rain water. (Cf. p. 211 .) 





Cf. pp. 209, 211. 

Plates XXXIV-XLII are reproductions of photographs taken by the 
author from the bas-reUefs, in the state in which they were in May 
1907, with the lichens which in places were eating them away (cf. 
pU. XXXV, 2; XXXVI; XXXIX, 0, and their stones sometimes 
disjointed (cf. pll. XXXVIII and XLII, 2). 

I. — This plate and the following belong to the story of prince 
Sudhana. For the description cf. p. 218. On the left will be observed 
the characteristic type of the Brahman, with his beard and large chignon. 

II. — Upper scene. Qvetaketu, half recumbent on his throne in his 
celestial palace amid the paradise of the Tushitas, pays (not, it seems, 
without a certain melancholy) his adieux to his heavenly companions. 
The latter, ranged on each side of him, manifest, on their part, dis- 
creet signs of affectionate regret for the imminent departure of the 
future Q^kya-muni. 

Lower scene. Cf. p. 220. It will be noticed that the flight of Mano- 
hari is the only movement in the slightest degree violent that we shall 
have to encounter in the whole series of these bas-reliefs (cf., however, 
further pi. XXXVI, i, lower scene). Scarcely do guards and cour- 
tiers allow themselves to betray at the sight of her a gesture of 
surprise. The birds figured on her left have no other object — if it is 
absolutely necessary to ascribe one to them (cf. p. 251) — than to 
emphasize the aerial character of her flight. 








Cf. pp. 220-2. 

I. — upper scene. That on pi. XXXIV, 2 (upper scene) the Bodhi- 
sattva is, in fact, on the eve of his last re-descent upon our earth, 
may be seen in this picture, the next in the upper row of bas-reliefs. 
Seated in the pose of meditation under a much decorated pavilion, which 
forms a kind of tabernacle, he still floats above the clouds in the midst 
of his flying cortege of divinities, of whom some are conveying him, 
whilst others wave banners, fans, fly -flappers and parasols as pledges of 
his future princely dignity. 

Lower scene. Cf. p. 221. Grouped on the right, the royal insignia 
(parasol, fly-flapper, conical fan, and leai oi sente [alocasia macrorrhiza 
ScHOTT.j, the last « still used by the Javanese, says Dr. Groneman, as a 
provisional umbrella »), will naturally reappear in all the court pictures 
(cf. pi. XXXVI, r, lower scene, etc.). 

II- — Cf. p. 222. The group on the right duly represents prince 
Sudhana letting his ring fall into the vessel of one of the attendants, 
who, stooping down, has just placed it at his feet. On the left the 
spring towards which walk, or rather glide, the other women — have 
you ever seen the gliding motion of the Javanese female dancers ? — 
is depicted as a kind of rocky basin, shaded by a tree and overgrown 
with lotuses. 








Cf. pp. 228, 230-r. 

I. — upper scene. Prince Siddhirtha, languidly ensconced upon his 
throne, offers his own ring, as a token of betrothal, to Gopi or Yagod^, 
who is kneeling with clasped hands at his feet. On the left presses the 
crowd of maidens disdained for her sake; on the right the emissaries 
of the king with visible satisfaction discover, and discuss among them- 
selves, the significant attitude of the prince, whose heart, to the great 
despair of his father, had until then remained proof against love. 

Lower scene. Cf. p. 228, On the right, King Mindhitar, flanked by 
his court, witnesses the scene from his palace : pieces of woven stuff 
fall from the clouds, naturally in the same long, rectangular shape 
which they would have when issuing from the loom. Among the 
people some catch them in their flight, others commence to drape 
themselves with them, whilst others providently make veritable 
bundles of them. 

II. — Upper scene. Prince Siddhirtha, preceded by his guard and 
followed by his court, is seated under a parasol on a four-wheeled char- 
iot drawn by horses, very poorly designed (cf. p. 251) : he has just 
met (as may be seen on the left) an old mendicant, leaning on a stick 
and led by a child; and a propos of this unexpected rencontre he learns 
through the mouth of his squire the existence of old age. This is the 
first of the four promenades (cf. pi. XXXI, 2). 

Lower scene. Cf. p. 230. It will be observed that we do not see here, 
as in Gandhira and even at Amaravati,an executioner lay his obedient, 
but cruel, hand upon the Bodhisattva; still less does this latter appear, 
4s in Central Asia, with his skeleton almost entirely stripped of flesh. 
Such a horrible sight would jar too strangely at Boro-Budur. 








Cf. pp. 233-4. 

Plates XXXVII-XL are consecrated to the story of Rudriyana. 

I. — Cf. pp. 253-4. Judging by their head-dresses, these are 
Brahmans who have been charged by Rudriyaiia to bring the precious 
cuirass, which is about to pass from their hands into those of Bimbisara's 
courtiers. And it is clearly a cuirass, without sleeves and closing, it 
seems, in front. 

II. — Upper scene. On the left the Bodhisattva (already under the 
aspect of a Buddha) is seated on a throne covered with a lotus, and in 
conversation with his master Ar^da. The latter exhibits all the charac- 
teristic marks of the Brahmanic ascetic, as do also his other disciples, 
who, in the midst of a conventional laadscape of trees and rocks, which 
represents their hermitage, occupy the rest of the picture, meditating or 
praying, their rosaries round their necks or in their hands. 

hmier scene. It is the ever- recurring court picture that here again 
appears. We have remarked (p. 234) that the throne of the teaching 
monk is higher than that of the king, his disciple. It might be inter- 
esting to refer the reader to a rule to this effect, expHcitly stated in the 
Prdtimoksha of the Sarv^stivjldins, v, 92 (Journal ^siatique, nov.-dec. 
19131 P- 535; ^^- FiNOT and trans. Huber). But, in fact, this is the 
general custom in India : it is by an exception, only explained by the 
prestige of Buddha among later generations, that in the scene above 
the sculptor has assigned to h'm a seat higher than that of his master. 



i*ai»ai*t«K5«!*'&iV'>S---^'y«;.. i.1 

Z^.' l-ii; JaSiiai*^ 





Cf. pp. 234-5. 

I. — Cf. pp. 234-5. Note in the case of the Buddhist nun the 
complete tonsure of the head and the total absence of jewels, conform- 
ably to the rule of the monastic order to which she belongs. The first 
feminine person seen full-length on the right of the king is, doubtless, 
queen Candraprabhjl. 

II. — Cf. p. 23 5 . It is the latter whom we find again in the following 
scene, kneeling on the ground in the costume of a nun. Between her 
and the bench on which are seated the two bhikshunis (whose heads 
have been displaced with the block which carried them) curious utensils 
of worship will be noticed. 



'' l irlU'iiiri' i. -V i^'r:^ 






Cf- pp. 235-6. 

I. — Here CandraprabM, descending again from heaven, in order 
to keep the promise which she had made to her husband to come back 
as a ghost, reappears, quite naturally to our eyes, in the costume of 
a goddess, and consequently of a queen — that is lo say, the same which 
she wore on plate XXXVIII, i. Note the cracks in the block on which 
the king is carved. 

II. — Cf. pp. 235-6. The distinction between the king and the 
crown-prince is in this scene especially emphasized by the fact that 
the father alone wears the tnukuta or tiara, which the son, contrary to 
custom (see, for instance, prince Sudhana in the low.-r scene of 
pi. XXXV, 2), here does not wear. 

III. — Cf. p. 236 and, for the sake of comparison, the right part of 
the lower scene in pi. XXXVII, 2. 




Cf. pp. 237-8. 

I. — upper scene. Oa the left the Bodhisattva (in the form of a 
Buddha), seated ia meditatioa among the rocks and in the shades of 
UruviM, raises his right hand in order to make to the fifteen gods (one 
of whom is broken) ranged on his left a polite gesture of refusal. What 
he dedines is the proposal, which they have just made to him, to breathe 
in through his pores a secret vigour, which may sustain him in the 
midst of his super-human austerities : for he will owe his salvation to 
himself alone. His well-bred interlocutors receive his decision with a 
demeanour as discreet as it is varied. It will be observed that the macer- 
ations of the Bodhisattva are not in any way shown, as in Gandhira, 
by the loss of flesh on his body : so much realism would here be 
regarded as the height of impropriety. 

Lower scene. Cf. p. 237. It will be noticed also in this connection 
that the sculptor does not make us witness the murder of Rudriyatia 
(cf. p. 249, n. i). It may be curious to observe the existence in the 
Mus6e Guimet of Tibetan paintings whose authors have not troubled 
themselves with so much dehcacy : for there is more than one way 
of being a Buddhist, in life as well as in art. 

II. — Cf. p. 238. It will be observed — and this trait curiously 
recalls the pleasantries of our Middle Age concerning the monks — 
that the Brahmans distinguish themselves by a special degree of cupidity. 







Cf. pp. i4i-3, 245-6. 

I. — Cf. pp. 240-3. The conventional rocks already met with in 
plates XXXVIII, 2 and XLI (upper scene) are here still more distinctly 
seen : they are the same as at Ajanta and in Indian miniatures (cf. £t. 
sur riconogr. bouddh. de I'lnde, 1, pp. 35, 183). 

The three following reproductions belong to the story of Mai- 

II. — Cf. pp. 245-6. The respect due to the mother, as well as to 
the teacher, is here also marked by the higher seat attributed to her (cf. 
p. 220, no. 8, and pi. XXXVII, 2). 








Cf. pp. 246-7. 

I. ~ Here, again, it would never be suspected that Maitrakanyaka 
is supposed to kick his mother on the head : such is, however, the 
subject (cf. pp. 245-6). This portion of the wall shows very serious 

II — Cf. pp. 246 7. The dvdrapdla is to be compared with those 
who likewise guard the gates of the Brahmanic temples of Java. A 
palisade of the same kind as thit of wh'ch we get a side view on the 
left IS seen again from the front on pU. XL, r (lower scene) and XLIV. 








Cf. pp. 257-62, 267-9 

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Cf. pp. 265 6. 

Photograph by Major Van Erp ; for the identification cf. pp. 265-6. 
On the plinth stretches the top of a palisade of large wooden stakes 
joined by a thin crossbar. Behind are seen the waves of a lotus pond, in 
which are supposed to grow the lotuses which support the three prin- 
cipal persons. Two Nigas, recognizable by their serpent head-dresses, 
hold up the stem of the central lotus, and thus recall those of the « Great 
Miracle at gr^vasii » (cf. pU. XX; XXIII; XXVIII, i). The stereotyped 
trees attest a remarkable feeling for ornament. At the foot of the two 
lateral ones are placed treasure-vases. The central tree, surmounted by 
a parasol, is further embellished with birds and hanging bells, and, 
conformably to tradition, is flanked by adoring divinities, here enframed 
in finely chiselled folds of cloud. The iconographic motif, carved in 
position, thus extends over the whole wall of the temple. 





The Buddhist Madonna 0. 

The painting reproduced in colours on the frontispiece to 
this volume comes from the ruins of Yar-Khoto, at about 
ten kilometres to the west of Turfan. Discovered on the 
ij"" of July 1905 in the course of the operations of the 
second German archaeological mission in this region of 
Chinese Turkestan, it is at present deposited in the Royal 
Ethnographical Museum (Kgl. Museum fur Volkerkunde) 
in Berlin, under no. T(urfan) II, Y, 69. In shape rectangu- 
lar, it measures m. 0,35 by m. 0,50, and, according to 
all probability, was formerly framed in bands of woven 
material, like a Japanese kakemono. The sanctuary, which 
it had once adorned, was apparently one dedicated to Bud- 
dha : at least, the fairly numerous manuscripts found in its 
company retain, under the diversity of their Sogdian, Tur- 
kish or Chinese languages and scripts, the common charac- 
teristic of having a Buddhist purport : we should have to 
except only some Uigur fragments, which would be Mani- 
chean. On the other hand, the final disintegration of the 
building, constructed of undressed bricks, could not be 
much later than the ninth century of our era. Only the 
extraordinary dryness of the climate explains how a thing 
so perishable should have succeeded in reaching us, beneath 
the thick accumulated debris of bricks and dust, in a state 

(i) Extract from Monuments d memoires publUs par VJcadimie des Inscrip- 
tions et Belks-Lettres (Fondation Eugene Piot), vol. XVH, fasc. II, 1910. 



of preservation relatively so satisfactory. We are indebted 
to the kindness of Dr. A. von Le Coq and Dr. Bode, the 
Director-General of the Royal Museums in Berlin, for the 
opportunity of offering to the public a first acquaintance with 
this work, one of the most significant, in our opinion, which 
have issued from the recent excavations in Central Asia. 


The reproduction which we publish is sufficiently ad- 
equate to enable us to dispense with anything beyond a 
succinct description, insisting less upon what is still to be 
seen at the first glance than upon what only a close exam- 
ination reveals. The principal subject is a seated woman, 
holding in the hollow of her right arm a child in swaddHng 
clothes, to whom with her left hand she presents her bosom. 
Her head, surrounded by atriple circular nimbus, is covered 
as far as the shoulders by a veil, embroidered round the 
hems and tied back with a ribbon. She is clothed down to 
the feet in a tunic with long sleeves, open at the breast and 
quite analogous to those which we have seen worn by the 
women of Kashmir. This robe is strewn with lozenges — 
themselves subdivided into four hke figures, each marked 
by a red spot — which were probably woven in the stuff; 
the collar, cuffs, opening and hem being bordered with the 
same embroidery as the veil. The feet are shod in slippers 
without heels, depicted in black, and the neck is adorned 
with a necklace of the same hue. The child is tightly 
swathed up to the neck, like a mummy. The chair on which 
the woman sits, in a very awkward position, is without 
arms or back, but very massive and much ornamented. 
From the front we perceive only two rectangular uprights, 


fitted between two frames of the same shape, the one 
which rests on the ground being a Httle wider than that 
which serves as a seat. The mouldings are repeated 
symmetrically. Those of the two inner crossbars repro- 
duce the regularly outhned curves of the embroidery : 
the decoration of the outer framework and of the uprights 
introduces halves or quarters of the lotus flower into the 
intervals of the curved undulations or the angular zigzags 
of a stripe. 

This central figure is surrounded by eight little attend- 
ants, four on each side. These are so many vigorous 
and plump little boys. All wear on their shaven crowns 
tufts of hair : round their necks are necklaces ornamented 
with medallions, doubtless serving as amulet-bearers ; 
on their feet black shoes ; about their loins cotton 
drawers, forming in front a little pocket which is 
pierced with a small slit, but projecting in wide pleats 
behind. The penetrating eye of Dr. A. von Le Coq has 
already noticed that four of them are about to play a 
kind of hockey. The first, at the bottom to the left, is 
raising his two hands, of which the right brandishes a 
crooked stick, towards one of his companions, who is 
perched upon the stool, as if to incite him to throw the ball 
which he clasps tightly in his right hand. The latter also 
holds upright in his left hand a similar bat, and half turns 
towards the seated woman, as if she were watching their 
play, while feeding her latest-born . At the top, on the right, 
two other little boys are engaged in the same sport. The 
upper one, who is squatting, with his left hand throws 
the ball, which is indicated in red; the one standing 
below receives it with his bat ; for, before the canvas was 
stretched and the drawing distorted, his left arm, which 
has now disappeared, was, doubtless, long enough to 


reach and manipulate the red, bent stick which is to be 
seen between the two partners. Below, a fifth child, seated 
on the ground, practises playing a sort of guitar with four 
strings. Still lower, a sixth is carrying as well as he can, in 
a basket too big for his arms, some melons, whole or in 
slices — those famous melons of Upper Asia, whose 
excellence all travellers unite in celebrating and of which 
the scent alone was sufficient to awaken in the heart of 
the Great Mogul Baber, even mid the enchantment of his 
Indian gardens, a homesickness for his native Ferghana. 
To return to the left portion of the plate, above the two 
hockey-players we see another little boy, who seems to be 
amusing himself by trying to balance on his head a two- 
handled vase. As for the eighth Httle figure in the top corner, 
it is so much injured that we dare not venture any conjec- 
tures concerning its manner of amusement : the author 
of the tracing which accompanies and supphes what is 
missing in the plate, has completed the figure, with infinite 
probability, as a little genius perfectly analogous to the one 
in the symmetrically opposite corner. 

To this summary description we are justified in adding 
a few observations of a technical kind. The painting is 
executed on a piece of coarse canvas, which had previously 
been covered with a coating, now partly vanished. The 
features (perhaps first sketched by the help of a pounce, 
dusted over a perforated pattern, as we know was often 
the custom of these image-makers) were drawn in ink, 
with great sureness of hand. If the sitting posture of the 
woman is unskilfully rendered, we shall remark, on the 
other hand, an interesting attempt to make the lozenges 
on the dress blend with the movement of the figure. Then 
colours, doubtless water-colours, have been applied in 
broad uniform tints. Here, it seems, golden yellow was 


confined to the seat and embroideries, while for the tex- 
tures there is recourse to a series of reds, passing from the 
minium of the dress to the carmine of the veil : all 
are to be seen again on the various bands of the halo. 
Then a Hght wash in ink, encircUng each feature, emphas- 
izes the contours and hollows out the folds, whilst a few 
delicate touches here and there give the finishing stroke to 
the summary indication of the modelHng. These are exactly 
the procedures which are found to recur in Sino-Japanese 
paintings, as also on Persian miniatures. We know that 
Oriental art has continued of set purpose to ignore the 
chiaroscuro. As to the date to be assigned to this picture, 
it is, provisionally, rather uncertain : for the archaeology 
of Central Asia has to be drawn from the chaos of its mate- 
rials, which for the most part are still unedited. However, 
thanks to the previous excavations of Sir Aurel Stein, we 
know that the rabdb with four keys, with which the child 
musician is playing, the flowers which the mouldings of 
the seat encircle, the « wave » or « cloud » motif of the 
embroidery were in use at Niya and at Rawak in southern 
Turkestan from the third century of our era (*). But, on 
the other hand, according to the opinion of Dr. A. von 
Le Coq, the woman's costume, of a fashion already Uigur 
— not to mention the extreme obliquity of the eyes — 
would force us to descend at least as far as the beginning 
of the seventh. 

(i) SeeM. A. Stein, Ancient Khotan, pi. LXXIII (guitar handle), LXVIII 
(seat), LXXXVIII (waves), LXVII(halo), etc. ; and cf. our Art greco-boud- 
dhique du Gandhdra, figg. 162, 213, 243, 246 (encircled flowers), 273 
(waves), etc. 



So far we have restricted ourselves to a simple statement 
of the facts furnished by an examination of the document. 
Now it is time to broach the more deHcate question of its 
interpretation. Inevitably, as soon as we are confronted by 
this pious design, we are carried back in memory to some 
familiar picture of the Virgin nursing the Child Jesus. For 
this unavoidable rapprochement we see at least two rea- 
sons. Firstly, there are not so many ways for a woman 
to offer her bosom to her nursling. The second, more 
topical, reason might chance through long habituation 
not immediately to occur to us. We remember having 
heard the ingenuous expression of it from the lips of a 
young Panjabi Brahman, who, in front of an Italian 
chromo-lithograph of the Holy Family, could not conceal 
his astonishment that « the mother of the God of the 
Europeans should not be dressed after the manner of the 
Mem-Sahebs ». He expected, as he explained to us, to see 
on the head of Mary a hat similar to those worn by 
Enghsh ladies, whereas, in fact, her veil gave her quite an 
Indian appearance. This he could not get over... After 
having smiled at his amazement, we shall do well not to 
forget the exact bearings of his remark. It is incontestable 
that the artistic tradition of the veil does in fact give an 
Asiatic appearance to the most Gothic of our Virgins, But, 
if our European images go more than half way to meet 
this (c Notre Dame de Tourfan » — as it had from the 
first (') been christened — it is intelligible that con- 

(i) This hypothesis was, indeed, put aside by Dr. von Le Coq because 
of the Buddhist character of the manuscripts found at the same time as the 
painting (cf. Journ. of the Roy. As. Soc, 1909, p. 309). 


versely our first instinct will be to connect this latter 
with a Christian prototype. Have not the excavations in 
fact proved the former existence, in this oasis of Turfan, of 
Manichean and even Nestorian sects? The unedifying 
entourage of eight urchins would indeed be ill-explained 
by this hypothesis ; but, with a little good will, all may 
be arranged, and in strictness one could reduce these little 
elves to a purely decorative role, analogous to that played 
by their counterparts, the putti, on the paintings of the 
Catacombs. In short, definitely to settle the question of 
the identity of our figure, we may imagine that it will be 
sufficient to confront it with the first chance representation, 
provided that it be somewhat anterior, of the Virgin nurs- 
ing her child. 

It will perhaps surprise more than one reader to learn 
that we have experienced great difficulty in laying our 
hand upon such a representation. It is not, indeed, that 
we ever thought to find thereby the clue to an enigma 
which seems to us, as will be seen, susceptible of a much 
nearer solution. But as little as anyone did we think of 
denying the Christian analogies of the painting of Turfan, 
and in any and every case it would have been interesting 
to connect with it a western counterpart. We went there- 
fore, and knocked at the door of the specialists. We must 
confess that their reply was not what we expected. They 
told us, to begin with, that the Virgo lactans was not 
shown in the catacombs of Rome C). Even in Byzantine 
art, with its well-known horror of the nude, the icons of 
the raXaxTOTpotpoOoa, charged, perhaps, at first with some 
indecorum, do not seem to appear until very late, in the 

(i) Cf. J. WiLPERT, Die MaUreien der Katahomben Roms, 1903 (not even 
on his pi. 22). 


XV"' century, and would be imitations of an Italian model, 
itselfof recent date ('). Finally, in France the first examples 
would not go back further than the XIV"' century, and 
would translate in our religious art new feelings of fami- 
liarity and tenderness Q. But even the best established 
laws must always have some exception, and in the present 
case M. Gabriel Millet has pointed out to us at least two. 
The first is furnished by the ivory cover of a Gospel of Metz, 
attributed to the IX"' century of our era (pi. XLVI, i) : the 
« Mother of God », thus designated by name in Byzantine 
sigla, is seated on a raised throne in the form of a coffer, 
and offers her left bosom, over which she has modestly 
drawn a fold of her veil, to a child entirely swathed in 
bands. The other specimen, recently obtained from the 
excavations of the Service of Egyptian Antiquities at Saq- 
qara, is by the gracious permission of M. G. Maspdro repro- 
duced here (pi. XLVI, 2). Seated on a chair with a back, of 
rather rude construction, the Virgin Mary no less chastely 
offers the nipple of her right bosom to a little Jesus, 
already growing, who, installed on his mother's knee, 
holds her forearm with both hands. According to the 
pubhshed information this painting had once adorned the 
walls of a convent founded in 470 and probably destroyed 
soon after the Arab conquest of Egypt (640-641). Whilst 
the Carolingian ivory would be later than the image of 
Turfan, the Coptic fresco would, therefore, be earUer. But, 
since — notwithstanding the analogy of the wholes and 
even of certain details — we discern at once that none of 

(i) KoNDAKOV, Monuments of Christian Art at Athos, 1902, fig. 68 and 
p. 173 (in Russian) ; Benigni, La Madonna allatante e un motivo hixantino? 
ap. II Bessariom, VII, 1900, pp. 499-501. We are indebted for this informa- 
tion to the kindness of our colleague M. Gab. Millet. 

(2) E. Male, UArt religieux de la fin du Moyen-dge en France (1908), p. 148. 


these three figures proceeds directly from either of the other 
two, their simuhaneous existence serves in the end only to 
induce us to bring a prudent reserve to bear upon our state- 
ments. If our short enquiry does not at all resuh, as we 
had begun to think, in guaranteeing the entire absence of 
the type of Nursing Virgin from ancient Christian art, it 
at least proves the extreme rarety thereof. Consequently, it 
suffices — and it makes no further claim — to divert us 
from the first trail along which our European prejudices 
would have started us. 

Whoever, in fact, has by his studies acquired a certain 
famiharity with Central Asian matters, whether he be Indian- 
ist or Sinologue, cannot have remained ignorant of the pre- 
ponderant role played by Indian civilization in « Serindia », 
at least down to the coming of the Musalmans ; and it is 
a fact no less surely estabhshed that the principal vehicle 
of this influence was the religion of Buddha. It is in this 
direction that it would be proper, a priori, to point our 
researches : towards the same quarter we are in the case 
of this particular picture directed by the character of the 
edifice beneath whose ruins it was discovered. Now, if we 
look at it no longer with eyes hereditarily Christian, but 
through Buddhist spectacles, we shall no less infallibly 
recognize in it, instead of the Virgin Mary nursing the 
Child Jesus, the fairy Hariti suckling her last born. Pin- 
gala, whilst some of her numerous sons are playing 
around her. This is a consecrated iconographic theme, of 
which it will be easy for us to quote numerous examples, 
spread over nearly twenty centuries and over the whole of 
the Far East. In face of the scarcity of western counterparts, 
this abundance of documents would at once weigh down 
the balance in favour of the Buddhist identification : compa- 
rison of the various replicas will bring full confirmation. 



But, first of all, it is relevant to present briefly to the 
non-Orientalist reader the goddess whose acquaintance we 
invite him to make. In truth, she was originally only a 
fairy, and even a wicked fairy. By birth she, as well as her 
troup of imps, belonged to the race, often maleficent, of 
spirits of the air {yakshd), in whom popular Indian belief 
had, and still has, a habit of incarnating contagious mala- 
dies. She herself personified the most pitiless of infantile 
epidemics. It is well known that in the India of the present 
day, in spite of the progress of vaccination, small-pox is 
dreaded to such an extent that it is still the custom not to 
reckon children among the members of the family until 
they have victoriously passed through the trial of this ter- 
rible disease. This is why the « green » Hariti still receives 
from the Buddhists of Nepal the worship which the Hin- 
dus of the plains address to the « cold » Qitala. That she 
should have ended by transforming herself from a formid- 
able scourge into a beneficent divinity will not surprise 
any student of religions. Of course, there was a legend to 
explain this transmutation of worthless lead into pure 
gold. Buddha in person had once converted the yakshini 
who decimated, or (as is metaphorically written) piti- 
lessly « devoured », the children of the town of Rajagriha 
(now Rajgir, in Behar). In order to convert her to more 
human feelings, he decided to deprive her for a time of 
Pihgala. the last and most loved of her five hundred sons. 
Some even relate that the Master hid Pirigala under his 
inverted alms-vase : and on Chinese paintings we do, in 
fact, see hordes of demons vainly endeavouring by the 
help of cranes and levers to turn over the huge bowl, 


in which the little genius is imprisoned ('). However this 
may be, the stratagem succeeded. The grief caused to 
Hariti by this momentary separation made her return to 
herself, or, better, put herself in the place of simple mor- 
tals, whom she had at times robbed of their sole offspring : 
she swore never to do so again. However, every one must 
live, even the wicked who repent. As soon as she is con- 
verted, the ogress mother respectfully calls the attention of 
the Master to the fact that the first precept of his morality, 
by interdicting all homicide, really condemns her and her 
five hundred sons to die of hunger; and Buddha, much 
struck by the justice of this remark, promises that hence- 
forth in all convents his monks shall offer a daily pittance, 
of course on condition that she and hers faithfully observe 
their vows... 

This monastic legend, very skilfully composed, endeav- 
ours, as we see, not merely to conciliate the contradic- 
tory notions attached to this deity, at once both cruel 
and propitious : in order completely to reassure the faith- 
ful, it also stands as a guarantee against any relapse of 
the converted yakshini into her ancient errors. Last and in 
regard to decorum most important, it claims to vindicate, 
under colour of a contract long ago made with the Master, 
the installation of this former ogress in the convent, and 
the propriety of the worship offered to her. It is, in fact, 
only too clear that it is from pure concession to popular 
superstitions that, according to the testimony of the Chi- 
nese pilgrim Yi-tsing, the image of Hariti was to be 
« found either in the porch or in a corner of the dining- 
hall of all Indian monasteries ». There she was, moreover. 

(i) Cf. Archseologia, LHI, 1892, pp. 239-244 ; La Ugende de Kouei tseu 
mouchen (Annales du Mus^e Guimet, Bibl. d'Art, vol. I); Ed. Chavannes, 
Toung Pao, Oct. 1904, p. 490. 


he tells us in plain terms, adored no longer as a devourer, 
but as a « giver » of children. Usually the « genius with 
the golden bag » was opposite to her — at least, when he 
was not, as in a number of surviving representations, seated 
beside her : for the common people had been quick to 
associate the dispenser of riches with the goddess of fecund- 
ity ('). We may even be permitted to think that their altars 
must have been those not least frequented by devout 
laymen, the more so as both sexes were there plainly pro- 
vided for. A passage from Hiuan-tsang interests us still 
more directly by attesting that the worship of Hariti had 
been transported early into the north-west of India. While 
following the same itinerary, we were surprised to encoun- 
ter, under a name which is nothing but an Afghan trans- 
lation of hers, the mound, still miraculous, even in the 
eyes of present-day Musalmans, which marks the location 
of her principal sanctuary in this country of Gandhara, 
where at about the beginning of our era the Grseco-Buddhist 
art flourished Q. 

This is sufficient to explain to us the antiquity, number 
and character, at once classical and benignant, of her 
Indian images. All answer more or less to the general des- 
cription given by Yi-tsing : she is depicted « as holding a 
babe in her arms and round her knees three or five chil- 
dren ». The little genii who are usually playing and 
worrying each other evidently represent her « five hundred 
sons ». There is nothing astonishing in seeing them all 
of nearly the same size : the texts admit that their mother, a 
true Gigogne, may very well have been able to bring them 

(i) See above Essay V, The Tutelary Pair. 

(2) Cf. Yi-Tsing, Records, trans. Takakdsu, p. 37 ; Hiuan-Tsang, Memoires, 
trans. Julien, I, p. 120; Bull, de I'^c. fr. d' Extreme-Orient, 1, 1901, 
pp. 341 sqq. 


all into the world in the same year (*). In the midst of all 
this swarm, which often dimbs over her person, one 
would sometimes say that she is posing in advance as' 
an Italian allegory of Charity. At one time she is seated : 
her « Benjamin » rests in her lap and childishly plays with 
her necklace (pi. XLVII, i), or at times simultaneously 
suckles her breast. Then again she is standing; but her 
favourite still clings to her bosom. Usually he is placed 
astride her hip, in the manner in which Indian women 
carry their children ; and two at least of his brothers have 
succeeded in cUmbing as far as the maternal shoulders 
(pi. XLVII, 2). With these two types — at times partly 
combined, as in pi. XL VIII, i, which in addition shows the 
husband of the goddess — may be connected the relatively 
numerous images furnished no less by the ruins of the 
districts of Peshawar and Mathura than by the famous grot- 
toes of Ajanta. The ogress, once the terror of fruitful 
mothers, has clearly there become a kind of matron, hope 
of barren women. It is this auspicious group that, as we 
are about to see, has conquered the whole of the Far East. 


For this pacific conquest two ways had been opened by 
those pioneers of Indian civilization, leaders of caravans or 
master mariners, the one by land and the other by sea. It 
was this latter route which must perforce have been followed 
in order to reach Java, on the actual confines of the Indian 
Archipelago. In preference to the little bronzes of the mu- 
seum in Batavia — evidence too portable to be unexception- 
able, — we reproduce here the HaritJ actually sculptured on 

(i) Mahdvastu, ed, Senart, I, p. 253, 1. 2. 


the left wall of the entrance corridor of the temple called 
Chandi Mendut, near to the famous stupa of Boro-Budur 
(IX* century), and doubtless almost contemporaneous with 
it. Represented on the right wall opposite, an image of 
the genius of riches completes the proof of the trans- 
plantation of their double worship into the most beautiful 
of the « Islands of the Southern Seas » (')• Crouching upon 
a cushion, her legs covered with a sarong and her body 
clothed only with jewels, the goddess, who wears a sump- 
tuous coiffure, is surrounded by no less than thirteen 
« little demons ». One is being presented to her on the 
right by an attendant, whilst the others play in the sand, 
caper about, or climb trees in order to steal their fruits ; 
and during this time Pirigala, resting in her arms, prepares 
to suckle with all the conviction of a nursHng charged by 
the sculptor to emphasize the identification of his mo- 
ther (pi. XLVIII, 2). 

If, this first mark noted, we return to our starting- 
point, we may follow the same family group on the march 
over the sandy roads of Central Asia. It was hardly doubt- 
ful that, in order to reach China, they must have pursued 
the same routes which the Chinese pilgrims had taken in 
order to reach India. Of this probability recent discoveries 
have made a certainty. The original of the frontispiece marks 
at Turfan precisely the route followed on the outward 
journey by Fa-hian and Hiuan-tsang, the northern route 
which, footing the chain of the Celestial Mountains, rounds 
the great desert basin of the Tarim. As to the southern route, 
which deployed along the northern slope of the Kuen-lun 
mountains the chaplet of the oases visited by Sung Yun 
on the outward journey and by Hiuan-tsang on his return. 

(i) See above, p. 264. 


it was unwilling to be behind its rival in any way, and it 
also has already furnished us, if not with a canvas, at least 
with a mural painting of Hariti. 

No one is unacquainted with the briUiant excavations 
carried out by Sir Aurel Stein, on the occasion of two 
successive missions, over the ancient alignment of this 
track across the present-day desert of Takla-Makan. One of 
them brought to light, in March 1908, at the north of the 
oasis of Domoko (itself situated at a longitude of a little 
more than one degree east of Khotan) a large figure of a 
woman, painted in tempera on a coating of mortar, in the 
embrasure of the door of a little Buddhist sanctuary. The 
cell measured on the interior m. 2,50 by m. 2,45, and its 
mud walls, decorated with BuddhasandBodhisattvas, attain- 
ed a thickness of m. 1,35. The panel, m. 1,15 wide, which 
particularly interests us here, had been preserved almost 
intact under a heap of sand accumulated by the wind to a 
height of m. 1,20. Only the lower part had in former 
times, when the entrance served as a passage for worship- 
pers, suffered much from the abrasion of passers-by. How- 
ever, according to the notes kindly communicated to us 
by the explorer, there could still be distinguished near the 
left foot of the woman, who, apparently, is seated, two 
little figures, clothed and gambolling about, whilst near 
her right foot a little naked boy seemed to be getting out of 
the way of a blow struck by a person completely effaced. 
As to the upper portion, it has reached the British 
Museum in an excellent condition ; and Sir Aurel Stein 
has very kindly allowed us to give a first and double 
reproduction of it (pi. XLV). It shows clearly the char- 
acteristic features of the principal figure, the dreamy 
squint of the eyes, the symmetry of the two lovelocks, 
the perforated and frightfully distended lobes of the ears, 


the oval of the « moon face », too broad according to our 
taste, the folds (classic in India) of the neck, the net of pearls 
in the hair, finally and above all, the triple circular orb of the 
nimbus. The goddess, since such she is, is dressed to the 
waist in a short cassock, of a rich greenish hue, spotted with 
yellow and trimmed with fawn braid, the short sleeves ter- 
minating above the elbow in a frill of linen folded in fluted 
plaits. Underneath are long, reddish sleeves, evidently be- 
longing to the bodice of the dress. A turquoise-coloured 
scarf, exactly similar to that worn by the Gandharian images 
(pi. XLVII, i), hangs in folds in the hollows of her arms. 
Her left hand, with straightened index, rests on the front of 
her knee, which is bent in the Indian manner. Meanwhile 
a naked child cUngs to her left bosom, as if asking to be 
suckled, whilst another little boy is seated astride on her 
right forearm, and two more, one of whom is dressed, 
ride familiarly on her shoulders. This more than suffices to 
determine, from analogy with pll. XLVII-XLVIII, i, the 
identification with Hariti and her mischievous progeny. 
The opposite wall of the embrasure is, unfortunately, des- 
troyed : we should have expected to see there the genius 
of riches, the usual counterpart of the goddess of children. 
Let us add that, according to the chronological indications 
ehcited by Sir Aurel Stein, the decoration of the temple to 
which this image belonged could not be later than the 
¥111"* century A. D., and may be a little earlier. 

If, continuing our journey eastward, we at last arrive 
in China, we are so much the more certain to discover 
Hariti there, as, according to the evidence of Yi-tsing, «. the 
portrait of the goddess-mother of demon sons (Kwei- 
tseu-mu-chen) » was already in his time (end of the 
VH"" century) to be met with in the country. In fact, under 
this same surname, pronounced Ki-si-mo-jin, she has 


pushed her way much further still, as far as Japan. A simple 
inspection of her modern images, whether representing her 
under her usual mask or, by a curious survival, in her 
proper guise as an ogress (pi. XLIX), will prove that the 
type has not, any more than the name, been so travestied 
by the local interpretation that one can hesitate as to its 
identity; even in the absence of any traditional designation, 
it could be divined simply from the child nestUng in his 
mother's lap or walking by her side. In China itself matters 
are not quite so simple, and a new element seems to have 
intervened to complicate the problem. Has the personality 
of Hariti been engrafted upon that same native goddess 
who, according to a certain interpretation, had been identi- 
fied with the Indian Bodhisattva, Avalokite^vara ? Has she 
simply been absorbed into the vogue of the feminine 
forms of the latter and considered as one of the numer- 
ous avatars of his inexhaustible grace? It is not for us to 
decide, any more than to unravel the origins of the cu- 
rious legend which tends to make of « Kuan-yin with a 
child » a virgin who is a mother only by adoption. But 
what we believe we can affirm, by reason both of the 
fundamental identity of the worship offered and ' of the 
exterior analogy of the iconographic types, is that the 
innumerable statuettes, either seated or standing, in which 
« the Great Mistress with the white robe.. . just because she is 
the patron of childless people, is represented with a child 
in her arms, which makes her strongly resemble the Vir- 
gin Mary (*) » , are only succedanea of the Indian and Serind- 
ian images of Hariti (pi. L). Finally, and consequentially, 
we must likewise recognize the latter under the exactly 

(i) De Groot, LesfeUs annuelkment celebrees a Emoui (Ann. du Musie 
Guimet, vol. XI), p. 182. 



similar features of the Annamese Quan-Am, who, « seated 
on a rock and draped in a robe with wide plaits, bears in 
her arms a child, which has caused her to be surnamed by 
our soldiers the Holy Virgin (') ». 


This time the circle of our pilgrimage of research is clos- 
ed, but only after having embraced the whole of the Far 
East. We see that the observation of the Christian analogy 
of these images recurs like a refrain in the mouths of those 
Europeans whose eyes have once lighted upon them. In 
case the unanimity of the testimonies should run some risk 
of impressing the reader, he will quickly reassure himselt 
by reflecting that, if some Egyptian mummy were wakened 
from its secular sleep, it would not hesitate in the least to 
recognize in them replicas of Isis suckling Horus, whilst 
every modern Hindu would with the same certainty see in 
them Krishna in the arms of his mother D^vaki or of his 
nurse Ya^oda. The type of the woman with a child, the 
happy incarnation of the wishes of mothers and the natural 
object of their worship, belongs, in fact, to all times, if 
not to all countries. Still there are distinctions to be made. 
Not everywhere do the same images personify the same 
ideas, far from it : did they so, diflFerent civilizations 
would nevertheless know them under different names. The 
whole intention of this short study is to assign to the 
heroine of the frontispiece and pi. XLV her authentic posi- 
tion by restoring to her, if possible, her moral physionomy 
and replacing her in her milieu. Deified, as witness her halo; 
a feminine divinity, as witness her forms ; goddess-mother. 

(i) G. Ddmoutier, Les cUlles annamiits (Extract from the Revue Indo- 
Chinoise, 1906), p. 30 of the separate print. 


as witness her progeny ; affiliated to the Buddhist pantheon, 
as witness the place in which she was found ; Indian by ori- 
gin, as witness her Gandharian prototypes; we have been 
able, without any shadow of violence, to include her in the 
group of idols, and the cycle of legends, dedicated to the 
ancient ogress of smallpox. Of course, she is shown to us 
only as transformed into a protectress of children and a dis- 
penser of fecundity to women : from the very moment 
when we catch sight of her in India, this transformation is 
already an accomplished fact. In the last analysis, the best 
verification of her identity rests, here as there, in her 
entourage of urchins : were it not for this suspicious 
trace of her past, which even in her subsequent dignity 
continues to cling to her, we should not have been able 
with absolute certainty to call her by her Sanskrit name of 
Hariti, the so-styled « mother of the little demons ». 

All taken into consideration, we believe that we thus arrive 
at a precise and sure identification : and the interest of this 
iconographic type is thereby increased. It announces, or 
recalls, in fact, congeners beginning with India, its father- 
land, as far as Japan, the limit of its migrations, to say no- 
thing of Java. Henceforward it would be difficult to choose 
a better illustration of the recently acquired knowledge con- 
cerning the progressive diffusion of Buddhist art through- 
out the Far East. It was not until 1900 that our public 
had a revelation of the existence in Japan, since the VII"" 
century, of a rehgious art of the human figure — of what 
was formerly styled the « grand art ». That its origin was 
to be sought in China, through the intermediacy of Corea, 
was quickly seen, and can easily to-day be verified by the 
photographs recently published by M. Ed. Chavannes ('). 

(i) Ed. Chavannes, Mission archiologique dans la Chine stptentrionak, 
Paris, 1909, pU. CV-CCLXXXVII. 


The productions of the ancient Buddhist art of China are 
in their turn connected in the most evident manner with 
those lately exhumed by the Russian, English, German, 
French, and even Japanese excavations in Turkestan. But 
these latter had been independently and from the first 
connected, by a transition no less evident,, with the works 
of the Indo-Greek school of Gandhara. Thus, thanks to the 
combined efforts of the latest scientific missions in Asia, 
we have seen joined again the scattered links, or, better, the 
broken glimpses, which we already possessed of the long 
chain of transmission. The most important result of the 
last explorations will have been definitely to arrange before 
our eyes in an uninterrupted series the numerous images 
which, escorting that of Buddha, followed it in procession as 
far as the islands of the Rising Sun or of the Southern 
Seas. In this varied train of gracious or furious figures, if 
there is none more charming, neither is there any more « re- 
presentative », than that of Hariti, were it only because we 
meet her at each step on the road; and this is why, among 
11 those which have already been brought to the museums 
of Europe, this one, from the first, forced itself upon our 

But let us not be misunderstood. We do not in the least 
claim to base on the frail support of this single image the 
theory which hundreds of documents continue more and 
more to reinforce, the theory of the conquest of eastern Asia 
by Indo-Greek art : we merely say that it remains a sign- 
ally typical example of a historical phenomenon whereof it 
formed only a part. Were we pressed a little further, we 
might even be willing to see in it an excellent illustration 
of a fact still more general. The recent unification of the art 
of higher and lower Asia has, in fact, a correlative in the 
fundamental and long recognized unity of European art ; 


and now it appears more and more clearly that the two 
have a common source. If for a moment we disregard the 
intrusion of the Musalman Arabs, the history of religious 
art in the ancient world, from the beginning of our era, 
may — when reduced to its essential features and excluding 
numerous local variations — be summed up somewhat in 
this manner : on the decadent trunk of Hellenistic art 
were grafted in nearer Asia two vigorous young shoots, 
of which one has been called Graeco-Buddhist, and the other 
might just as well be called Graeco-Christian . It is not for us 
to ignore the fact that the latter has through Italy and 
Byzantium conquered the whole of Europe; but we must 
realize also that the former, growing and multiplying like 
the Indian fig-tree, has likewise gradually won over the 
whole of Eastern Asia. And thus, from the islands of the 
Atlantic to those of the Pacific, humanity has by degrees 
come to pray only at the feet of more or less distant, more 
or less unsuspected oflFshoots of Greek art. But on the most 
distant branches of this great evergreen tree never have 
there burst forth flowers more beautiful nor more full of 
resemblance, if not in regard to the moral perfume 
which they exhale, at least in regard to the material form 
in which they array themselves before our eyes, than 
the images, Christian and Buddhist, of the Madonna. 
Even if, as we venture to foresee, the field of artistic 
comparisons must habitually be widened from one ocean 
to the other, the most universally attractive role will 
always revert to those figures which incarnate the mater- 
nal — and in some cases at the same time virginal — 
grace of the eternal feminine. 


Cf. pp. 285 6. 









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I. — Group, consisting of P^ncika and Hiriti, now in the Peshawar 
Museum, and reproduced from a photograph kindly lent by Dr. J. Ph, 
VoGEL. It comes from the excavations made by Dr. D. B. Spooner at 
Sahri-Bahlol, and has already been publi.-.hed by him in Arch. Surv. 
India, Annual Report, 1906-j, pi. XXXII, c. In his hands, both 
broken, the genius of riches must have held (right) his lance and (left) 
the purse which Hiriii, apparently, was helping him to exhibit to the 
gladdened tyes of the faithful (cf. pp. 141-3 and 283). In addition to 
the nursling of the goddess we see also around them five other putti, 
whilst sixteen mare play about on the pedestal. 

II. — This photograph, taken by the author, represents only the 
central part of the panel, with the image of the goddess (cf. pp. 264 
and 284). For a complete picture we may have recourse to the pho- 
tograph published by Dr. J. Ph. Vogel in the B. E. F. E. O., IV, 
1904, p. 727. 







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PL. L 









(Arabic numerals refer lo pages, Roman to the descriptions accompanying the numbered plates). 

Abandonment of Home, Great. See Mahd- 

Abhayamudrd. See Mudra. 
Acacia sirisa. See ^irlsha. 
AcoKA, Bodhi-tree provided with railing 
by, 17, 102. 

— — visited by, 23, 108. 

— Buddha relics redistributed by, 78. 

— Gandhira a frontier country un- 

der, 121. 

— Ramagrima visited by, 25. 

— romance of, at Vidi^a 79. 

— Sinchi connected with, 78. 
Afohlvaddna, passage in the, figured 79 

AcvAGHOSHA. See Buddhacariu. 

— See Siltralamkara. 

Agvaitha figured on the gate of S4nch5 
94, 102. 104, 107. 

— Su also Bodhi-tree. 
Agathokles, coin of, described 126. 
Agnes, type of, in J4taka 49. 
Ajanti caves, date of frescoes of. 190. 

— — Great Miracle figured in the, 

160 and n. 2, 162-5, xxi. 

— — Hiriti figured in the, xlix. 

— — paintings (archaic) of the, 4. 

— — Shaddanta-jdtaka figured in 

the,40, 188, 195-9, 199, XXIX. 
AjAtacatru, visit of, to Buddha figured 

19, 179, n. 2 (Barhut). 
Akanishtha heaven, the highest of the 

Ripadhdtu, 159, n. i. 
Akshobhya figured 267 (BatavJa Museum). 

— — 256-7(Boro-Budur). 

Alexander, Indian campaign of, 126. 
Alms-vase figured xxvii (Gandhira). 

AmarA, story of, figured 50 (Barhut). 
Amardvati sculptures, elegant style of, n. 

— Stapa, Boro-Budur modelled upon 

the, 209-10. 

— — Buddha figures from the, 

date of, 116. 

— — Buddha's visit to Bimbisdra 

figured on the, 102. 

— — date of bas-reliefs on the, 


— — four Great Miracles figured 

on the, 73, 148, ii-iv. 

— — railing of (fragmentary), 4. 

— — Shaddanta-jataka figured on 

the, 39, 188, 195-6, XXIX. 
Amba. See Mango. 

Ambrosia, Vase of, figured 91 (S4nchl). 
Amitabha figured 256-7 (Boro-Budur). 

— figured on head of Avalokite^vara 

264 (Chandi Mendut). 
Amoghasiddhi figured 256-7 (Boro Bu- 

Ananda incarnated in King of Benares 

43 ; XIX (Sanchi). 
Anchorite. See Hermit. 
Anda, partofStQpa, 33. 
Animals, Buddha in company of, figured 
107 (Sanchi). 

— Buddha's birth in form of, 35. 

— throne formed of superposed, xxi 


— See also Antelope, Buffalo, Bull, 

Camel, Crocodile, Deer, Dog, 
Elephant, Hamsa, Horse, Lion, 
Monkey, Quail, Parrot, Peacock, 
Stag, Swan, Tortoise, Unicorn, 




Ankle-rings worn by female figure 89 

Ankufa. See Elephant, goad for. 
Annam, HiritJ figure in, 287-8. 
Antagiri, Bimbis4ra's visit to Buddha at, 

figured loi (Sancht). 
Antelope, Buddha's birth as. See Kurutiga- 

— figured 97, 107 (Sinchi). 

— — XXIX (Amaravati). 

— Woodpecker and Tortoise, story of 

the, 40. 
Antelope-horn. See Rishya^ringa. 

— See also Deer. 

Antialkidas mentioned on column at Vi- 
difi 82. 

Antiquities, Indian, materials for Diction- 
ary of, 80. 

ArAda figured xxxvii (Boro-Budur). 

ArdmadHsaka-jdtaka narrated 44. 

— figured VI (Barhut). 

Archer, Buddha's birth as. Sc«Asadisa-j4taka. 

— figured on the gate of Sinchi 93. 

Aristotle, Lay of, cited 48. 

Armourer, workshop of, figured 52 (Bar- 

Arms, dislocated, of Javanese women 

figured 245-6 (Boro-Budur). 
Arrow, making of, described 52. 
Art, Buddhist, abstract character of, 14. 

— — ceremonial occasions of, 10. 

— — conflicting tendencies in 

ancient school of, 18. 

— — developement of ancient 

school of, 17, 25-6. 

— — Gandharian. See Gandhira. 

— — origin of. See Essay I. 

— — routine procedure of an- 

cient, 17. 

Asadisa-jdtaka narrated 56. 

Ascetic, Buddha's birth as. See AriraadA- 
saka-jjltaka, Bhisa-jltaka,Camma- 
sataka- jataka Dabbhapuppha-ja- 
taka, Ddbhiyamakkata-j^taka. 

— See Arada, Brahman, Hermit. 
AsiTA, Buddha's presentation to, figured 5 

Atlantes figured xxv (Gandhara). 
Aureoles figured xxi (Ta-t'ong-fu), xxv 

(Gandhara), xxviil (Gandharai, See also 
Halo and Nimbus. 

Avaddna-fataka, Maitrakanyakavadana ac- 
cording to the, 244, n. 2. 

AvALOKiTEgvARA figured 255, XXII (Boro- 
Budur), xxiii (Kuda). 

— pensive pose of, xxv (Gandhara). 

— statuette in Batavia Museum 267. 

— wanting in Gandhara sculptures, 

also in Divyivadana and Maha- 

vastu, 177-8. 
Axe, hermit's, figured 98. 
Ayuh-samskdra-utsarjana localized at Vai- 
5411 149 n. 

Balconies figured 93 (Sanchl). 

— — xxv (Gandhara). 
Balustrade. See Railing. 

Band round knees and loins. See Paryaii- 

Banner figured xxxv (Boro-Budur). 
Barhut railing, remains of, in Calcutta 
Museum 57. 

— stupa, Bodhi figured on the, 102. 

— — Buddha represented only by 

symbols on the, 75. 

— — Buddha's Conception figured 

on the, 92. 

— — Buddha's figure wanting on 

the, 117. 

— — Buddhas, seven traditional, fi- 

gured on the, 72. 

— — Buddhist Heaven figured on 

the, 72. 

— — date of, 34, 190. 

— — Elipatta's visit to Buddha fi- 

gured on the, 19. 

— — Great Miracle figured on the, 

178-180, xxvin. 

— — jitakas figured on the. See 

Essay II, V, VI. 

— — Shaddanta-jitalta figured on 

the, 39, 184, 194-6, XXIX. 

— — Vigvantara-jataka figured on 

the, 57. 

— — Kinnaras figured on the, 242. 

— — monksnot figured on the, 76. 

— — scenes identified by inscrip- 

tions on the, 68. 



Barhut sttlpa, sculptures ot, followed a liv- 
ing tradition 58. 
Bark-garments, Brahmaiiical, figured on 

the gate ofSanchi 97. 
Barth, a., scene at BoroBudur identi- 
fied by, 269 n. 
Barygaza. See Biiiruka. 
Baskets figured at Barhut, 50. 
Bas-reliefs, composition of, at S4nchi, 
compared with that of altar 
scenes of Middle Ages, 83. 

— passim. 

Batavia Museum, sculptures in the, 266-9. 
Beal, Rev. S., conversion of Kil^yapas 
identified by, 76 (Sanchl). 

— view of, concerning miraculous 

trees, 72. 
Beasts. See Animals. 
Bells figured xliv (Chandi Mendut). 
Belt of jewelry, worn by female, figured 

89 (S4nchl) 
Benares, Great Miracle figured at, 181- 


— king ot, see Ruru-j4taka. 

— sculptures from, iv. 

— signacula from, 12. 

— See also Mrigadiva, SSrnath. 
Besnagar, Anoka's romance at, 79. 
Besom. See Rajoharana. 
Bestiaria, Unicorn story in, 48. 
Bhadra-ghata. See Vase, Lottery. 
BhaUdUya-jdtaka. See Kinnara-jltaka. 
Bharhut. See Barhut. 
Bharukaccha. See Bhiruka. 

Bhilsa, S4nchl stdpa near, 63. 

Bhiru, Minister of RudrSyana, figured 238 

Bhiruka, foundation of, 240. 

Bhisorjdtaka narrated 45-6. 

Bhdpal, Begum of, offers gate of Sanchi 
stOpa to France 62. 

Bhrixdt5-TArA, image of, in Batavia Mu- 
seum 267. 

Bignonia flower figured 86 (S4ncM). 

— Suaveolens See Piifal!. 
BimbisAra, visit of, to Buddha, figured 77, 

loi (Sinchl). 

— visit of Buddha to, figured 102 


BimbisAra mentioned in story of Ru- 

driyana 232 sqq. 
Birds figured 100, 107 (Sinchi). 

— XXV, on roof, (Gandhara). 

— XXXIV (Boro-Budur). 

— XLIV (Chandi Mendut). 

Block, D'Th., viewof, concerning figure 
of bull in Lahore Museum 21 n. 2. 

BoccAcio, Rishyafriiiga-jitaka transposed 
by, 48 . 

Bodh-Gay4, signacula from, 12. 

— See also Mahibodhi. 

Bodhi, emblem of the, employed for mi- 
racles of the second rank 19. 

— figured 16, 77, 103, 108 (Sanchi), 

102 (Barhut), iv (Gandhara and 
Araaravatl),xix (Sarnath). 

— represented by throne under tree 

148, n. 2. 

— temple, miracles related by Hiuan- 

tsang concerning the, 24, n. i . 

— tree at Bodh-Gaya 13. 

— — Anoka's visit to the, 23, 108. 

— — Buddha figured under the, 26 


— — Buddha symbolized by, 19-20. 

— — Buddhas, seven last, each sym- 

bolized by his special, 72, 104 

— — figured 72, 102 (Barhut and 

sanchi), 89, 90, 102 (San- 
chi), 178 (Barhut), i (on 
coins), 11 (Sanchi and Ama- 

— — railing built by Agoka round, 


— ~ Tishyarakshita's attempt upon 

the, 108. 
Bodhisattva figured (?) 162, n. 2 (Ajan^a), 
255 (Boro-Budur), 263-4 (Chan- 
di Mendut), xv andxvi (Gandha- 
ra), XXII (Boro-Budur), xxiii 
(Kuda), xxvii and xxvin (Gan- 
dhara, XXXV (Boro-Budur). 

— See also Siddhirtha, Avalokite^vara, 

Maitreya, Manju^rl. 
Bodhisattvdvaddnakdpalald , Boro - Budur 
sculptures in conformity with the, 
225 6. 



Bodhisativdvaddnakalpahtd, Maitrakanyaka 
story according to the, 244 n. 2. 

— Mandhatravadana according to the, 

225 n. I 
Book, emblem of Brahma 175; ofManju- 
fri 255 (Boro-Budur). 

— figured XXVII, xxviii (GandhSra)i 

L (China). 
Boro-Budur, artistic defects of, 207-8. 

— conservation work at, 206 n. 

— designed as stfipa modelled upon 

AmaravatJ Stilpa 209-10. 

— Guide to, by J. Groneman, 215. 

— Great Miracle figured at, xxil. 

— j4takas at, Essay VIII. 

— original plan of, 208 n. i, 213. 

— sculptures, artistic merits of, 212-3. 

— — Bodhisattvavadanakalpa- 
lat4 followed by the, 225-6. 

— — characteristics (crowded 
scenes, avoidance of scenes of 
violence, failure in individuality, 
bookish character) of 250-4. 

— — edifying scenes empha- 

sized on, 227. 

— — insipid scenes figured 

in, 248-9. 

— — Pradakshina arrange- 

ment of, 214-5. 

— — to be photographed 248. 

— situation, form and dimensions of, 

205, 206-7. 

— view of, XXXI, xxxii, xxxiii. 
Bowls of viands figured 233 (Boro-Bu- 

Boy, golden, figured l (China). 
Boys playing a game figured on a pain- 
ting from Central Asia 273-4. 
Bracelets worn by female figure 89 

BrahmA figured 96 (Sincht), 162 and n. 2. 
(Ajanta), xv (Kanishka casket), 
XIX (Sarnath), xxiv (Gandhara). 

— heaven of, figured 71, 92, 103 

Brahmamitra mentioned in inscription 4 

Brahman ascetic. See Cammasataka-jataka, 


Brahman, bark garments of, figured 97 

— figured 97 (Sanchl), 218 (Boro- 

Budur), XXV (Loriyan-Tangai), 
XXXIV, XXXVII, XL (Boro-Budur). 

— headdress of. See Chignon. 

— hermitage figured xxxvii (Boro- 


— inferior to Kshatriya according to 

the Buddhists, 54. 

— music of the, 48. 

— See also Arida, Asita. 
Brishl. See Mat. 

British Museum, signacula in the, 11. 
Broach. See Bhiruka. 

Buddha, almsbowl of, worshipped xv 

— birth of, figured 2 1 d. i (later Stelae 

of Benares), 70 n. i (Sanchl), 

III (Gandhara and Amaravatl), 

IV (Gandhara and Benares), xix 

— — symbolized 20-1 (Amara- 

vatl), 21 (Buddhist coins). 

— Bodhi of. Su Bodhi. 

— castes in relation to, 53. 

— conception of, figured 92 (Sanchi), 

III (Gandhara and Amarivati). 

— death of. See Parinirvana. 

— descent of, from heaven. Set De- 


— Dharmacakrapravartana of. See 


— elephant tamed by, at Rajagriha, 


— farewell of, to Chandaka iv (Be- 


— figure, artistic value of the, 136-7. 

— — composition of the, consis- 

ting of monk and prince, 

— — created by sculptors of N. 

W. India 24. 

— — date of, in Amaravatl 1 16, 
Burmah 115, Cambodia 115, 
Ceylon 11 5 -6, China 115, Gan- 
dhara 117-8, Java 115, Maga- 
dha 116, Mathura 116, Samath 
II-6, Siam 115, Tibet 115. 



Buddha figure declared impossible in texts 

— — embodies ideals of Olympian 

and Mahipurusha 134-5. 

— — Greek characteristics of ihe, 


— — Greekoriginof the,EssayIV. 

— — Indo-Greek type of, 7. 

— — oldest descriptions of the, 


— — omitted in scenes 4. 

— — omitted at Barhut 117. 

— — Padmasana posture of, 235 n. 

— — painted on cloth 234. 

— — proved by Kanishka casket 

to belong to the i" Cen- 
tury B. C. 129-130. 

— — related to that of Christ 

135-6, XVI. 

— said tobea portrait 82-3, 259. 

— — tonsure omitted from the, 


— — uniformity of, 112-3, 114. 

— figured 116 n. i (Turfan.Khotan), 

128 (on coin of i" century A.D), 
172 n. I (Takht-i-Bahai), 254- 
62 (Boro-Budar), 263 (Chandi 
Mendut), xi (Gandhara), xv (Ka- 
nishka casket), xvi (Gandhara), 
XX (Ajanta), XL, xliii (Boro-Bu- 

— footmarks of, iii (AmarivatJ). 

— Four Promenades of, hinted at 107 

(Sinchl); figured xxxi (Boro- 

— Gandhara said to have been visited 

by, 122. 

— Great Departure of. See Mahabhi- 


— hair cut off by, jewels abandoned 

by, 132. 

— Hiriti converted by, 122. 

— horse of. See Kamhaka , 

— life of, in successive births 35. 

— life of, 113. 

— Mahibhinishkraraana of. SeeMahi- 


— moii'fey's offering to, at VaigdlJ 


BuDHA, mother of. See Ukyi. 

— Naga of Sw4t river converted by, 


— Parinirv4na of. See Parinirvana. 

— portrait statues of, 82-83. 

— preaching of, to the 33 gods, figur- 

ed 163 n. I (Ajami). 

— Questions of, to Qiriputra 163 n. i 


— relics of, deposited in eight Sanc- 

tuaries, 147; in Kanishka casket 
129, 130. 

— relics of, war of, figured 78 (Siln- 


— Renunciation of Life by. See Ayuh- 


— return of, to Kapilavastu, figur- 

ed 93 (SancW). 

— squire of. See Chandaka. 

— seven steps of, figured iv (Bena- 


— statue of, sandal wood, 24 n. i . 

— symbolized at Sinchl and Barhut, 

19. 75. 
BuDDHAS preceding ^akyamuni figured 
XXVI (Mahomed Nari). 

— seven last, symbolized 72 (Sin- 

chl and Barhut), 104 (Sinchl). 

— thousand, at Murtuk and the Great 

Miracle 160 n. 2. 

— See also Qikhin, Kagyapa, Kanaka- 

muni, Krakucchanda, Prabhiita- 
ratna, Ramasambhava, Vi^va- 
bhfl, Vipafyin. 
Buddhacarita, Great Miracle described in 

the, 158. 
Buddhism in Gandhira, history of, 121-5. 
Buddhist art, origin of, Essay I. 

— monuments abundant in Gan- 
dhara 124. 
Buffaloes figured 97-107 (Sanchl). 
BiiHLBB, G., Sanchl inscriptions studied 

by, 66 n , i . 
Bull, symbol of Buddha's Birth, 21 (coins), 

Bulls with human faces figured 107 

Burgess, J., frescoes at Ajaiiti described 
by, 162-163, XX. 



Burgess, J., photograph communicated by, 


Burmah, Buddha type not original in, 115. 

CailA, nun, figured 234-5, xxxvin (Boro- 

CaiVjfli, Eight Great, 147; Hymn to the, 

147 n. 2. 

Qakra. 5«elNDRA. 

Cdkravartin, Seven Jewels of a, 227. 

Qdla tree, symbolizing VigvabhCl, 104 

Calcutta museum, remains of Barhut rai- 
ling in the, 57. 

Cambodia, Buddha figure not original in, 

Camel figured 87 (SSnchl). 
Cammasdldka-jdtaka narrated 44. 
Campaka {Ndgapushpa) flower figured 88 

(Sinchi), xxil-lii (Eoro-Budur). 
Candragupta, Gandh4ra ceded by Seleu- 

kos to, 121. 
CandraprabhA, queen, figured 235, 

xxxvm-ix (Boro-Budur). 
Cankrama figured 93 (Sinchi). 

— symbolizing Buddha 19 (Sanchi). 
Canoe figured loo (Sinchi). 

Canvas, painting on, 274-5. 
Capitals, decorations of, 86 (Sinchi). 

— Iranian, 87, 91 (Sinchi). 
Qaripdtra, questions to, figured 163, n. 

1 (Ajami). 

Casket from Kanishka stApa figured xv. 

Castes, Bodhisattva and the, 53. 

Catacombs, symbols employed by Chris- 
tian artists of the, 82. 

Caves, Buddhist. See Ajanti, Ta-t'ong-fu. 

Ceylon, Buddha figure not original in, 

Chaddanta-jdtaka. See Shaddanta-j". 

Chair figured 144 (Gaul and India). 

Chandaka, Buddha's squire, figured 105 
(Sincht), in (Gandhira and Amari- 
viti), IV (Benares). 

Chandi Mendut, Hiritl figure from, 283-4. 

— — images in the, 262-6. 
Chariot figured 93, 100 (Sinchi), 178 

(Barhut), xxxvi (Boro-Budur). 
Chartres cathedral, carvings on the, 61. 

Chavannes, E., caves of Long-men and 
Ta-t'ong-fu described by, 115, 
167 n. I. 

— Chinese statue interpreted by, l. 

— photograph furnished by, xxi. 

— Shaddanta-jitaka translated firom 

Chinese texts by, 188 and n. 2, 


Chignon, Brahmanic, figured 97, 175 and 

n. 2, xxv-vi(Gandhira), xxxiv, xxxvii 


Child figured 139-40 (Gaul), 141 -2 (Gan- 

Children, goddess of. See Hiritl. 
China, Buddha figure not original in, 115. 

— Hiritl figure in, 286-7. 

Christ figure based on Lateran Sophocles 

— — related to that of Buddha 

135-6, XVI. 

Christian art, Hellenistic origin of, 290-1. 

— — juxtaposition of incidents 

in, 83. 

— — symbols employed by, in 

Catacombs 82. 
(^ibi-jdtdka figured 230-1, xxxvi (Boro- 

— localized in Gandhira, 123. 
CiKHANDiN, son of Rudriyana, figured 

235-7 (Boro-Budur). 
QiKHiN symbolized by Pundarika, 104 

CiNcA, calumny of, at ^rivasti 183. 
QiHsJia tree symbolizing Krakucchanda 

104 (Sinchi). 
Civilization of India represented on Sinchi 

sculptures 80. 
Cloud figured XLiv (Chandi Mendut). 
Cluny museum, signacula in the, 11. 
Cock, Buddha's birth as. See Kukkuta- 

Coins, Indo-Greek, described 125-8. 

— — figured XIV. 

— punch-marked, discussed by D. B. 

Spooner 14, 21 n. 2. 
Columns, Persepolitan or Corinthian, figu- 
red XXV (Gandhira). 
~ supported by Atlantes xxvi (Gan- 



Columns. See also Capitals. 

Conception, Buddha's, represented 20 

(Amaravatl, Barhut, S4nchl). 
Conch figured 93 (Sancht). 
Corinthian columns xxv (GandhSra). 
Cornucopia figured xvn (Gaul), xviii 


— unclean in India 142. 

Court scenes figured xxxvi-ix (Boro-Bu- 

^rivasti, Buddha's birth as son of citizen 
of, 54. 

— Cinc4's calumny at, 183. 

— figure (personified) of, 175, xxvii 


— figured 239 (Boro-Budur). 

— Great Miracle at. See Essay VI. 

— Jetavana scenes figured 77 n. i 

(Sinchi). See Jetavana. 

— Sundart's assassination at, 183. 
gRi (?) figured 70 and n. I, 88 (Stochi). 
Crocodile figured 100 (Sinchi). 
^UDDHODANA, departure of, from Kapila- 

vastu figured 93 (SanchJ). 

Cuirass figured xxxvi (Boro-Budur). 

CundA figured 264.5, 266, xLiv (Chandi 

CuNGA dynasty mentioned in Barhut in- 
scription 4, 34. 

Cupid garland-bearers figured xv (Kanishka 
casket), xxv CGandhira). 

fvETAKETU figured xxxiv (Boro-Budur). 

Qydma-jdtaka figured 74 n. 2 (Sinch!). 

— localized in Gandhira 123. 
^yAmAka, companion of Mahikatyiyana, 

figured 239 (Boro-Budur). 

Ddbhhapuppha-jdtaka narrated 44-5. 

Dancers figured 91 (Sinch!). 

Davids, T. W. Rhys, Twin Miracle as 

viewed by, 157. 
Decorative motifs at Sincht 69, 85-90. 

— — hard to distinguish from 

Buddhist scenes 84. 

— — imported from Persia 

by Iranian artisans 
Deer figured xxix (Amar4vatt). 
— See also Antelope, Gazelle. 

Demetrios, coin of, 126. 
Demi-gods figured 71 (Stochl). 
Departure, Buddha's Great. See Mahi- 

Devadatta, monkey incarnation of, 43-4. 
Devdvatdra figured 163 (Ajanti), 163 n. i 
(Barhut), xix (Sirnath). 

— localized at Kanyakubja (Fa-t'ien), 

Kapitha (Hiuan-tsang), or S4hka- 
?ya (Divyavadina and Fa-hien) 
149 n. I. 
Dharmacakrapravartana confused with 
Great Miracle 169 n. 1. 

— figured 16 (Sinchi), iv (Gandhira 

and Amaravatl), xix (S4rn4th). 

— symbolized by wheel 148 n 2, 11. 
Dhoti figured 85, 89, XL (Gandhira). 
DhritarAshtra, Gandharva king, figured 

85 (Sanchl'). 
Z)i)'(fB(-S«ddAflfigured256 /(Boro-Budur). 

— images in Batavia museum 267. 

— See Akshobhya, Amitabha, Amo- 

ghasiddhi, Ratnasambhava, Vai- 

Dion, father of Heliodoros, 82. 
Disc figured 227-8 (Boro-Budur), 
Divydvaddna, Avalokite^vara and Manju- 

jri wanting in the, 178. 

— extracts of Mtila-Sarvistividin Vi- 

naya in the, 151 n. 2, 223, 253. 

— followed by sculptors of Boro- 

Budur 223-4,225-6, 253. 

— Great Miracle narrated in the, 151, 


— Great Miracle described as neces- 

sary act of Buddha by, 151. 

— groups together Birth, Bodhi, First 

Preaching and Death of Bud- 
dha 148 n. I. 

— Maitrakanyaka story narrated in 

the, 244 n. 2. 

— MandhStar story narrated in the, 


— Paficika named in the, 174 n. 5. 

— Rudriyana story narrated in the, 


— TwinMiracle narrated in the, 156-9. 
Dog figured 107 (Slnchl). 

Dog-tooth ornament xxv (Gandh4ra). 



Domestic life, scenes from, 80, 95 (Sin- 

Domoko, Hiriti figure from, 285-6. 
Donors to Sanchi stilpa named 67. 
Dragon figured L (China). 
Driver of chariot figured 93 (Sanchi). 
Drum figured 93 (Sanchi). 
Druma, Kinnara king, figured 221-2 

(Bore Budur). 
Do Hamel, Constant, story of, 49. 
Dubhiyamakkata-jdtaia narrated 43-4. 
Dvdrapdla figured 71 (Sanchi), xlii (Boro- 

D^ang-hun, Great Miracle narrated in 

the, 161 n. 2. 

Earrings figured 89 (Sanchi), 144. 
Edification, increasing, as test of date in 

religious tales, 191-2. 
EKAgRlNGA. See Rishyafringa. 
Elapatra, visit of, to Buddha figured 19 

Elephant, Buddha's birth as, 37-39, 186. 

— Buddha's conception in form of, 

figured 92 (Barhut and Sinchi). 

— figured 45 (Barhut), 86, 88, 90, 

97 (Sanchi), 163, 164 n. i 
(Ajanta), 2278, 234 (Boro-Bu- 
dur), XIX (Sarnith), jcxviii (Bar- 
hut), XXIX (Barhut and Amara- 
vati), XXX (Karamir hill and 

— goad for, figured 86 (Sanchi). 

— savage, tamed by Buddha 150. 

— six-tusked. See Shaddanta-jStaka. 

— symbolizing Buddha's birth 20 n. 2. 

— symbolizing Buddha's conception 

21, I. 

— wild, figured 88 (Sanchi). 

Erp, Major van, Boro-Budur conservation 
work under, 206 n. i, xxxi. 

— Boro-Budur drawings executed by, 


— photograph communicated by, xxxii, 


Esperandieu, E., stereotypes lent by.xvn. 

— work of, on Gallic bas-reliefs 139-41. 
Eugenia jambu. See Jambu tree. 
Eukratides revolts against Demetriosi26. 

European literature, borrowing from India 

by, 50. 
Existences, previous, of Buddha. See J4- 


Fa-hien, Great Miracle notnarrated by, 183. 

— Mahacaitya at QtivaiStX seen by, 

183 n. 

Fairy. See Yaksha. 

Fan figured 95 (Sinchl), xxxv (Boro-Bu- 

Fa-t'ien, Great Miracle associated with Je- 
tavana by, 149 n. 2. 

Feer, L., Shaddanta-jitaka discussed by, 
187, 193 n. I. 

Fell, Capt., SSnchl stflpa visited by, 63. 

Fergusson J., view of, concerning Indian 
sculptures and texts 186. 

Ficus glomerata. See Udumbara. 

— indica. See Nyagrodha. 

— religiosa. See Afvattha. 
Fig tree. See Bodhi-tree. 

Fire cauldron figured 98 (Sanchi). 
Fishes in pond figured xxviii (Gandhara). 
Flagstaff figured 90 (Sanchi) . 
Florence, baptistery of, scenes on the, 83. 
Flowers, garlands of, xxiv-xxv (Gan- 

— rain of, xxii (Boro-Budur), xxiv, 

xxviii (Gandhara). 

Flute figured 93 (Sdnchl). 

Fly-ftapper figured, 93, 105 (Sanchi), xix 
(Sarnith), xxi (Ajanta), xxii, 
XXVIII (Boro-Budur), xxix (Ama- 
ravatl), xxxv (Boro-Budur). 

— holders, Brahma and Indra as, 165 

(Ajanta), 168 (Western India). 
Fortune, Indian. See Qri. 
Francis, H., jataka translation by, critici- 
zed 202, n. I. 
Fresco painting. See Painting. 

Ganda, Gandamba, as name of gardener, 

152, n. !.■■ 
Gandhara art, Greek details of, 145-6. 

— — Greek origin of, 145-6. 

— bas-reliefs from, date of, 190. 

— Buddha said to have visited, 122. 

— Buddhism in, history of, 121-5. 



Gandh&ra, Buddhist monuments numerous 
in, 124-5. 

— ceded by Seleukos to Candragupta, 


— cities of, 118. 

— columns in Corinthian or Persepoli- 

tan style in, xxv. 

— conversion of, by MadhyJntika 122 

— frontier country under Ajoka, 121 

— Greeks in, 125-8. 

— Hariti story localized in, 122. 

— jitaka scenes rare in, 26. 

— jatakas localized in, 123. 

— legendary scenes numerous in, 26. 

— Madhyantika apostle of, 122. 

— Maliayilna flourishing in, 125. 

— monasteries (1000) of, 124. 

— Rishya^ringa-j^taka localized in, 48. 

— sculptures from, iii,xv, xvi, xviii, 

xxiv-vm, XXX, XLvn. 

— Shaddanta-jataka figured in, 39, 

188, 195-6. 

— Tutelary Pair commonly worship- 

ped and figured in, 141-2, xviii. 

— See also Karamar Hill, Kharkia, 

Mekha-Sandha, Peshawar, Sahri- 
Bahlol, Takht-i-Bahai, Taxila. 
Gandharvas as decorative figures 85 (San- 

— king of the. Sie Dhritar4shtra. 
Gardener, story of. See AramadOsaka- 

Gargoyles for carrying off water xxxi(Boro- 

Garland as decorative motif, 85 (Sinchl). 

— figured 170-2, 172 n. i (Takht-i- 

Bahai), xxiv-vi, XXVIII (Gan- 
dh4ra), xxviii (Barhut). 

— serpentine, in sculpture, 34. 
Garments, rain of, figured 228, xxxvi — 

Garuda figured 107 (SSnchl). — 

Gate of Sinchl stiipa described 65. 
Gaul, Tutelary Pair in. See Essay V, xvii. — 

Gazelle figured iv (Gandhira and Amara- — 

vati), xix (Simath). 

— See also Antelope and Deer. 
General figured 227-8 (Boro-Budur). 
Genius figured 71, 80 (SkachX). 

Genius, flying, figured xxiii(Magadha and 
Kudi), xxvii-viii (Gandhira), 
See also Yaksha . 

Getty, Henry H., photographs communi- 
cated by, XLix. 

Girl, Jade, figured l (China). 

Goat figured 87 (Sinchi) . 

Gods, Fifteen, figured xl (Boro-Budur). 

— Thirty-three, Buddha's preaching to 
the, 19, 163 n. I. 

— who dispose of the creations of 
themselves and others, 92. 

Goddess figured xxxix (Boro-Budur). 
Gold, shower of, figured 228 (Barhut). 
Goldsmith figured 246 (Boro-Budur). 
GoLOUBEW, v., photograph communicated 

by, IV. 
Gopa. See Ya^odi. 
GosANZE, Japanese name of Trailokyavi- 

jaya (q, v.), 268. 
Greek coins 126-8, figured xiv. 

— influence on art at Sinchi 82. 

— invasion of India and influence in 
Gandhira 125-8. 

— source of Christian and late Bud- 
dhist art 290 I 

GridhrakCita, Saddharraapundarika associa- 
ted with the, 149 n. 2. 

Griffiths, J., Shaddanta-jataki fresco des- 
cribed by, 195 . 

Griffons figured 94 (Sanchl). 

Groneman, J., Guide to Boro-Budur by, 

— Maitrakanyaka-jitaka verified at 
Boro-Budur by, 215 and a. 2, 

Grouping of sculptured scenes 77. 

Grunwedel, a., Buddhist heavens detec- 
ted in sculpture by, 71. 
frescoes of Murtuk reproduced by, 
160 n. 2. 

— Maitrakanyaka figures compared 

by, 244 n. I. 

— photograph communicated by, XVIII. 

— sculptures at Sanchi identified by, 
71, 76. 

Guardians of sanctuary. See Dvarapila. 
Guides, Mess of the, Gandhara sculptures 
in, 119, XI. 




Guimet Museum, Sanchi stuoa moulding 

in the, 92. 
Guitar, boy playing, figured 274. 

Halaka, a hunter, 218 9. 
Halo of Buddhas 172. 

— figured 173 n. i, xxvii (Gandhlra). 

— See also Aureole, Nimbus 
Hamsa-jdtaka figured 37 (Barhut). 
HaritI, the Buddhist Madonna, 279-qi. 

— converted by Buddha 122, 2S0. 

— figure from Chandi Mendut, 285-'!. 

— — Doraoko 28,-6. 

— — Annam 287-8. 

— — China 286-7. 

— — Japan 287. 

— — universally found in Bud- 

dhist countries 290. 

— figured frontispiece (YAr-Khoto), 

XLV (Domoko) , xviii ,xlvii,xlviii 
(Gandhara), XLIX (Japan), L 

— images of, in all Indian monaste- 

ries 281. 
~- — described by Yi-tsing 


— originally an ogress, goddess of 

smallpox, 142,280-1, XLIX. 

— reminiscence of worship of, in 

Gandhara 122, 282. 

— See also Tutelary Pair. 
Harmikd, part of stupa, 33. 
Harp figured 49 (Barhut). 

Harsha QIlAditya, poem of, 147 n. 2. 
Hastinapura, capital of northern Pancala, 

HayagrIva, image of, in Batavia Museum 

Head-dress, Brahmanical. See Chignon. 
Heaven, Akanishtha. See Akanishtha. 

— Buddhist, figured 71, 91 (S4n- 

chi), 72 (Barhut), 

— Descent from. See Devivatira. 

— Kamavacara, figured 103 (Sanchi). 

— Mara's, figured 92 (Sanchi). 

— Tushita. See Tushita. 
HELtoDOROS, column of, at Vidi^i, 82. 
Hell, town of, figured 246-7 (Boro-Bu- 


Herald figured 93 (Sanchi), 229 (Boro- 

Hermit figured 80, 98 (Sanchi). 

— See also Arada, Ascetic, Brahman, 

Kaf yapa . 
Hermitage, Brahmanic, figured xxxvii 
(Boro Budur). 

— life of a, figured 98 (S4nchl), 
Himalaya, scene in the, 219. 

HiRU, minister of Rudrayana, 238-40. 
Hiruka, foundation of, 240. 
HiUAN-TSANG, Gandhara monasteries esti- 
mated at I 000 by, 124, 

— Great Miracle disregarded -by, 185. 

— Mahacaitya at Qravasti seen by, 

183 n. 

— Rishya^ringa story related by, 48. 

— Vajrasana statue described by, 259- 

Honeysuckle figured 87, 89 (Sanchi). 
Horse, Buddha's. See Kanthaka. 

— figured 93 (Sanchi), 163 (Ajanta), 

227-8 (Boro-Budur),xxvni (Bar- 
hut), xxxvi (Boro-Budur). 

— symbolizing Great Departure 148 

n. 2, I. 
Hoti-Mardan, Gandhara statues in, 119. 
HuBER, E., Divyavadana traced to Mula- 

Sarvisiivadin Vinayaby, 151, 223 

n 2, 253. 

— LCihasudatta and his wife discussed 

by, 174 n 1. 

— Roruka localized by, 238 n 2. 

— Rudrayana story analysed by, 23 1-2. 

— Sutralamkara (Chinese) in 10 chap- 

ters noted by, 200. 
Humboldt, W. von, Dhyani- Buddhas de- 
tected at Boro-Budur by, 256. 
Hut, Brahmanical, figured 97 (Sanchi). 

Idolatry, Buddhism not originated in mi- 
lieu hostile to, 9 

— not mentioned in Veda 9. 

— rare in ancient India 8 
Idols mentioned by Pataiijali 9. 
Images, anthropomorphic. See Idolatry. 

— carved at Sanchi 69. 

— Indian, discussed by Dr. Konow 

9 n. 2. 



Indian art, history of ancient school of, t8. 

— life, details of, illustrated by sculp- 

tures 29. 
Indra, Buddha visited by, 19 (Barhut). 

— figured 96 (Sincht), 162 and n. 2 

(Ajantd), 170 n. 2, 175 n. 2 (in 
Great Miracle), 177 (m Devava- 
tira), 179 (Barhut), 229-jo, 232 
(Boro-Budur), iv (Benares), xv 
(on Kanishka casket), xix (Sar- 
nath), XXIV (Gandhira). 

— heaven of, figured 91 (SSnchi). 

— steals ascetics' food 46. 
Indramitra mentioned in inscription at 

Bodh-Gaya 4. 
Indraprastha, Vidhura-jitaka localized at, 

Inscriptions 54, 92 (Barhut), 66, 86 

Ionic capital, volute of, imitated at S4n- 

chi 87. 
Iranian artisans in India 82. 

— capitals on gate of SinchJ 9 r . 

— influence in Indian art 69, 87, 91. 
Isis suckling Horus, images of, 288. 
Ivory-carvers of Vidi^a 67. 

Jackal and otters, story of the. See Dabbha- 

puppha-j4taka 44-5. 
Jain monk (Digambara) figured 163 (Ajan- 

Jambu tree at Kapilavastu figured 106 

Janmacitraka, the nSga, 218. 
Japan, Haritl figure in, 287. 
Jdtaka, antelope. See Kurunga-jitaka. 

— AramadCsaka. See Araraa". 

— Asadisa. See Asadisa" 

— Bhallatlya. Su Kinnara". 

— Bhisa. See Bhisa. 

— Cammasdtaka. See Camraas4taka°. 

— ^ibi. See ^ibi". 

— cock. See Kukkuta". 

— Dabbhapuppha 5«Dabbhapuppha°. 

— Ddbhiyamakkata. See Dtibhiyamak- 


— elephant. See Kakkata", Latukika", 


— Hamsa, See Hamsa" 

jdtaha Kapota See Kapota". 

— Kinnara.5(;« Kinnara" 

— Kukkuta. Sre Kukkuta". 

— Kuruiiga. See Kurunga". 

- Mahijanaka See Mahajanaka". 

— Mah4kapi. See Mahdkapi". 

— monkey. 5«Maliakapi°. 

— pigeon. 5c« Kapota". 
quail. See Latukika". 

— Rishyajririga. See Rishyajringa" 

— Ruru. See Ruru" 

— Shaddanta. See Sliaddanta" 

— stag. See Riiru". 

— swan. See Hamsa". 

— Temiya. See Temiya". 

— Unicorn. 5« Rishyafringa". 

— Vi^vantara. See Vifvantara". 

— Vidhura. See Vidhura". 
Jdtakas at Barhut. See Essay II. 

— figured 23 (Barhut and Sinchi), 

40 (Barhut), v-vi (Barhut). 

— nature of the, 30. 

— rarely figured in Gandhira 26. 
Jdtaka book, age of verses and prose, 189- 

90, 196-7, 201-6. 

— Great Miracle in Introduction to, 

152 and n. i. 

— Maitrakanyaka story compared with 

the, 244 II. 2. 
M4ndh4travadana compared with 
the, 225 n. I. 

— not complete 58. 

— Twin Miraclein Introduction to, 155. 
JdtakamdlU, Twin Miracle in the, 155. 
Java, Buddha figure not original in, 115. 

— Buddhist art in, 205. 

— Buddhist images of, resemble those 

of India 269. 

— routes followed by Indian civiliza- 

tion to, 283. 

— 5«alsoBatavia, Boro-Budur, Chandi 

Jetavana, Great Miracle not localized in 
the, 149 and n 2. 

— Great Miracle represented by 

wheel in front of the, 180 n. i. 

— Mahaprajniparamita associated 

with the, 149 n. 2. 

— scenes in the, 77 n. i. 



Jewels, belt of, figured 89 (SdncW). 

— Buddha divests himself of his, 106. 

— figured 227-8 (Boro-Budur). 

— seven, of a cakravartin 227. 
Juxtaposition of incidents in art 74, 83 

(Buddhist and Christian), 98 (Sanchi). 
Jyotipala, vy4karana of.figured xxvi (Gan- 

KAgvAPA, conversion of, figured 76, 97, 
100 (Sanchi). 

— Buddha figured xxvi (Gandh4ra). 

— — symbolized by Nyagrodha 
tree 104 (SanchJ). 

Kakanada. See SSnchi. 
Kalpadrumdvaddna, date of the, 190. 

— Shaddanta-jataka in the, 187-8, 

194, 196, 198, 204 n 
Kdmdvacara heaven figured 103 (S4nchl). 
Kanakamuni symbolized by Udumbara 

tree 104 (SSnchi). 
Kanishka, Clovis of Northern India, 128. 

— coin of, with figure of Buddha 


— figured 129-30, XV (on casket). 

— Peshawar winter capital of, 129. 

— stiipa, and casket of, i28-3o, xiv 


Kanjur, Mandh4travadana according to the 

225 n. I. 
Kanthaka, Buddha's horse, figured 105 

(Sinchl), III (Gandh^ra and Amaravatl), 

IV (Benares). 
Kanyakubja, Devavatira localized at, 149. 
Kapilavastu, deity of, figured 175, in 
(Gandhira and Araaravati). 

— departure of king from, figured 93 


— figured 105 (Sanchi), 

— gate of, figured 1 3 . 

— Jambu tree near, figured 106 (San- 


— Mahabhinishkramana symbolizing, 


— NyagrodharHraa at gate of. See 


— scenes at, figured 77, n. i (Sinchl), 


— signacula from, 12. 

Kapilavastu. See also Lumbinl. 
Kapitha, Devavatara localized at, 149. 
Kapola-jdiaka figured 37 (Barhut). 
Karamar hill, Shaddanta-jataka figured at, 


Karli, Great Miracle confused with Dhar- 

macakrapravartana at, 169 n. I. 
Karma, law of, 31. 

Kaujilmbi, Buddha portrait statue at. 259. 
— unimportance of, in Buddhist le- 
gend, 149. 
Khara village mentioned in Rudrayana 

story 238. 
Kharkai, Buddha head from, Xi. 
King figured 100 (SanchJ), 232, xxxvi-xl 
— See also A(ioksL, Ajatagatru, Bimbisara, 
^uddhodana, ^unga, Dhritarish- 
tra, Druma, Kanishka, Mahaja- 
naka, Mandhatar, Milinda, Prase- 
najit, Royalty. 
Kings, Four Great. See Lokapala. 
Kinnara figured 219-24 (Boro-Budur), 11 

— form of, discussed 241 and n, 2, 242. 

— jdtaka figured 5 3 (Barhut and Boro- 

Budur), 241, XLi (Boro-Budur). 

— king. See Druma. 

Kinnari Manohara, story of the, 219-24. 
Ki-si-MO-jiN, the Japanese Hariti, 286-7. 

— figured XLix. 

Kondivt6, Great Miracle figured at, 168. 

Konkan, Great Miracle figured in the. 182. 

KoNOw S., images in ancient India dis- 
cussed by, 9 n. 2. 

Kosala king and queen reconciled by Bud- 
dha 53. 

Krakccchakda symbolized by Gir'sha 
tree 104 (Sinchl). 

Krishna suckled by Devaki, images of, 

Krityd effigy, in magic rites 8 n. i . 

Kshatriya. Brahman inferior to, according 
to BuJdhiys 54. 

— Buddha's birth as, 55, 
Kshemendra, M4ndhatar story narrated by, 

225 6. 

— M(ila-Sarvastiv4din canon followed 

by, 151 n. 2,204 n. 

Kdan-yin figured l (China). 
Ku^inagara, signacula from, 12 

— stiipa, Buddha's death commemo- 

rated by, 12. 
Kud4 caves, Great Miracle figured in the, 

— sculptures from the, xxiii. 
Kuikuta-jdtaka figured 57 (Barhut). 
Kurunga-jdtdka figured 40 (Barhut). 
KuvERA not one of the Tutelary Pair 141 . 

— statuette in Batavia museum 267. 
KwEl-TSEU-MU-CHEN, the Chinese Hiriti, 


La Fontaine, j4taka tales reflected by, 45, 
48, 50. 

Lahhana, sign of recognition for identi- 
fying sculptures, 176, 181. 

LaUtdkshepa posture figured 263 (Chandi 

Lalita-vistara versions of stories on bas- 
reliefs 214 (Boro-Budur). 

— Shaddanta-j^taka mentioned in the, 

Lamaist images, symbols of Buddha on, 

Lambaka, scene at, figured 239 (Boro- 
Lance figured 145, xvliii (Sahri-Bahlol) 
Latukika-jdtaia narrated 28. 
Le Coq, a. von, Haritl painting discus- 
sed by, 273, 275, 276 n. I 

— photograph communicated by, xviii. 
Leemans, jitaka scenes described by, 217, 

222 (Boro-Budur). 

— Buddha statue described by, 258-9 


Legendary scenes figured 90 (S4ncht). 

Leggings figured 144. 

Leroux, E., stereotypes lent by, vii-x. 

Letter figured 232 (Boro-Budur). 

L6vi, S. , Bodhisattv4vad4nakalpalat4 pas- 
sage emended by, 174 n. 5. 

— crisis in Indian conscience at the 

time of Afvaghosha described by, 

— Divyavaddna traced to Mdla-Sarvils- 

tivadin Vinaya by, iji n. 2, 223 
n. 2, 253. 




Hiuan-tsang shown to repro- 
duce SQtrilamk4ra version of 
Shaddanta jataka by, 199 n. i. 

— Kanishka compared to Clovis by, 


— poem of Harsha restored by, 147 

n. 2. 

— references concerning Panthaka sup- 

plied by, 157 n. 3. 
Lieu-tu-1 si-king, date of the, 190. 

— Shaddanta-jatakainthe, 187-8, 196, 

Life, Buddha's renunciation of. See Ayuh- 

saipskira-utsarj ana . 
Lilinj. See Nairaiijana. 
Lion, Buddha symbolized by, t. 

— figured 87, 90, 107 (Sanchl). 

— horned, figured 87 (Sinchi). 

— winged, figured 87 (SSnchl) 
Lion-headed brackets xxv(Gandhara). 
LocanA, image of, in Batavia museum, 

Loin-cloth. See Dhoti. 
Lokapdlas figured 91, 103 (Sinch!), 173 

n. I, 174; III (Gandhara and Amar4- 

vati), XX VI- VII (Gandhira). 
Long-men, date of caves in pass of, 115. 

— Great Miracle figured in caves of, 

167 n. I. 
Loriyin-Tangai, sculptures from, xxiv-v. 
Lotus as attribute xxri, 255, 264-6. 

— as decoration 85 (Sanchl). 

— figured 86, 88, 89 (Sinchl), 172 

n. I (Takht-i-Bahai), 173; xv 
(Kanishka casket), xix (Sirnath), 
xxvii (Gandhara), l (China). 

— footstool figured 165 (Ajanti), 167 

(Magadha), 168 (Western India), 
XXI (Ajanta). 

— seat figured 163, 170-2. 173, 176, 


— stalks as food ot ascetics 46. 

— symbolizing Buddha's birth 21. 

— — miraculous birth 21 

n. 2, I. 

— — seven steps of Buddha 

XIX (Sarnath). 
LiJDERS, H. , S6traiamkara fragments identi- 
fied by, 173-4. 



LoHASUDATTA figured 173 4 ; XXIV, XXVIII 

(Gandhara) . 
Lumbinl, Buddha's birth at, 13. 

— ^uddhodana's visit to, 93. 

Macdonell, A. A., photograph communi- 
cated by, III. 
MadhyAntika, apostle of Gandhara, 122. 
Madonna, Buddhist. See Essay IX, 

— — See Haritt. 

— figure explained by M. Millet 


— figured XLVli (Carolingian and 

Magadha, Buddha figures from, date of, 

— capital of. See Rajagriha. 

— Great Miracle figured in, 167 8. 

— See also Antagiri, Bodh-Gaya, Gri- 

dhrakuta, Mahabodhi. 
Mahdhhinishhramana figured iii (Gandhara), 
IV (Amaravati and Benares), xxvi 

— represented 5 (Sanchi), 20 (Amara- 

vati), 21 n. I (Benares), 105 (San- 

— symbolized by horse 14.8 n. 2, i. 
Mahabodhi, Buddhist portrait statue at, 


— See also Bodh-Gaya. 
Mahdjanaka-jdtaka figured 52 (Barhut). 
Mahdkapi-jdtaka figured 41 (Barhut), 74 

n. 2 (Sanchi). 
MahAkatyayana figured 234 (Boro-Bu- 

Mahdparinibbdna-sutta quoted concerning 
the four sacred places 148 and n. 
Mahdprajiidpdramitd-sutra associated with 

the Jetavana 149 n. 2. 
Mahdprdtihdrya associated with the Jeta- 
vana 149 n 2. 

— confused with the Dharmacakra- 

pravartana 169 n. i. 

— confused with the Twin Miracle 


— figured 160 and n. 2, 162-5 (AjantJ), 

165-6 (Boro-Budur), 166-7 (Ta- 
t'ong-fu), 167 n. I (Long-men), 
167-8 (Magadha), 168 (Kondivti, 

Kuda, Western India), 172 n 2 
(Takht-i-Bahai, Rawak), 178-80 
(Barhut), xix-xxviii. 

— narrated 159-62. 

— narrated in Buddhacarita 158, Di- 

vyavadana 151, 173, Jataka and 
Mahavamsa 152 and n. 1. 

— preferred to Twin Miracle in Sar- 

nath stele 153-6. 

— reasons for tardy recognition of, 


— symbolized by wheel in front of Je- 

tavana 180 n I. 

— versions of the, classified 180-2. 
Mahdpurusha, ideal of, embodied in Bud- 
dha figure 134-3. 

Mahdvamsa, conversion of Gandhara nar- 
rated by, 122. 

— Great Miracle according to the, 1 5 2 

and n. i. 

— Twin Miracle according to the, 

Mahdvastu, Avalokitegvara and Mafijujri 
wanting in the, 178. 

— Twin Miracle according to the, 

Mahdydna, part played by Gandh4rian doc- 
tors in, 125. 
Maitrakanyaka story figured 243 -7, xli-ii 

— — narrated in Avadinajataka, etc., 
244 n. 2. 
Maitreya figured 264 (Chandi Mendut), 
xxii (Boro-Budur), xxvi (Mo- 

— symbolized by Campaka 88 (San- 


— tree of, figured 105 (Sanchi). 
MakhAdeva, Buddha's birth as, 55, 
Mallas, despair of the, figured iv (Gan- 

Mallet figured 140, 144 (Gaul). 
MAndhAtAr, story of, figured 224-31, 
xxxvi (Boro-Budur). 

— story of, narrated in DivyivadSna, 

etc., 225-30 and 225 n. 1 . 
Mangifera. See Pundarika. 
Mango tree figured 86, 89 (Sanchi), 162 




Mango, miracle of the, 152. 
MANjo?Rt figured 255 (Boro-Budur), 264-6 
(Chandi Mendut), xxv (Gandhdra). 

— wanting in Divy4vadana, Mahi- 

vastu, and Gandhira 177-8. 
Manohara, flight of, figured xxxiv (Boro- 

— story of, 219-24. 

Mara, assault of, figured 105 n. (Sanchi), 
161 and n. 1, 162-5 (Ajanta), 
iiiiv (Gandhara and Amaravati). 
XIX (SSrnath). 

— heaven of, figured 92 (Sinchl). 
Mdradharshana See Mara, assault of. 
MARici, statue of, 267 (Batavia Museum). 
Marshall. J.-H , Kanishka stilpa explored 

by, 129. 

— photographs communicated by, 64 

n. 2, 84, II, VII X, XIX, 

— scenes on stele identified by. 150. 
Mat, Brahmanical, figured 97 (Sanchi). 
Mathura, Buddha figures from, date of, 


— Great Miracle missing at, 182. 

— stilpa, fragments of railing, 4. 

— unimportance of, in Buddhist le- 

gend 149. 
MaudgalyAyana figured 174. 
MAyA, dream of, figured 70 and n. i (?), 

Ill (Gandh4ra and Amaravati), ix (Sin- 

Meditation, Buddha's first, 5 (Bodh-Gaya). 
Mekha-Sandha hill, Xii. 
Melons figured on ^lainting from Central 

Asia 274. 
Menakder, coin of, 127. 

— Nigasena's conversation with, 6. 

— S4gala capital of, 127. 
Mendicant figured xxxvi (Boro-Budur). 

— See also Monk. 

Merchant, Buddha's birth as. See Camma- 

MiLiKDA, Questions of King, 127. 

— S-^e also Menander. 

Millet (Gab.), Madonna figures indicated 
by, 278. 

— Madonna figure explained by, xlvi. 
Minister figured 227 8, 229, 238-40 (Bo- 

Minister. See also Hiru, Bhiru. 
Miracle, Great. 5e«Mali4pr4tiharya, 

— Twin. See YamakapratihSrya. 
Mithila, Amar4 story located in, 51. 

— Mahijanaka story located in, 52. 

— See also Yavamajjhaka. 
Mohamed-Narl, sculptures from, xxvi. 
Monasteries. Buddhist, Hdriti figure in, 


— Buddhist, numerous in Gandhira 

Monk figure in composition of Buddha 
figure 1 3 1-4. 

— figured 234, 239 (Boro-Budur), 

XVI (Gandhira), xix (Sarnath), 
xxv (Loriyan-Tangai), XXVI (Gan- 
dh4ra), xxxi, xxxvii (Boro-Bu- 

— not figured at Barhut and Sinchi 96. 
Monkey, Buddha's birth as. See Mahakapi- 


— Devadatta's incarnation as, 43-4. 

— figured 45 (Barhut), lOO (Sinchl). 

— offering of the, figured 150, xlx 


Moon, crescent, figured 172, n. i (Takht- 

Mortar and pestle figured 95 (Sanchi). 

Motifs, decorative, borrowed from Persia 

Mrigad^va, Buddha's preaching at the, 13. 

Mudrd figured 163 (Ajanta), 170 n. 2, 
181 ; 256-8 (Boro-Budur), xv (Kanishka 
casket), xix (Sirnath), xx (Ajanta), xxi 
(Ta-t'ong-fu), xxiv (Gandhara). 

Mula-sarvdstivddin school prevalent in 
Jav.i 253. 

— Vinaya and the Divydvadana 151, 

MoRDHATAR. See M4ndh4tar, 226. 
Murtuk, Thousand Buddhas at, 160 n 2. 
Musicians, celestial. See Gandharva. 

— figured 91, 93, 100 (Sanchi), 239 


Ndga, Buddha relics at Rimagraraa guar- 
ded by, 78. 

— Buddha's victory over the wicked, 

figured 97 (Sinchl). 



Ndga figured 167 (Magadha), 168 (West- 
ern India), iv (Benares), xix 
(Sarnath), xx (Ajanta), xill 
(Kud4, Magadha), xxv (Loriyan- 
Taagai), xxvi (Mohamed-Nari), 
XLV (Chandi Mendut). 

— Janmacittaka, story of, 218-219. 

— of Swat river converted by Buddha 


— woman in Vidhura-jataka 55. 

— See also Nanda and Upananda, Ela- 

Nagapiya, donor of pillar at SanchJ,67-77. 
Ndga-pushpa flower. See Campaka. 
Nagara-devatd See Town, personification 

NAgasena, Menander converted by, 6. 
Nairanjana river figured 96, 100. 
Nanda and Upananda in the Great Mi- 
racle 1 59-161. 

— figured 167 (Magadha), 168 (Wes- 

tern India), 173, XXIII (Kuda 
and Magadha) , xxv - xxvii 

— See also Naga. 

Nandipada symbolizing nativity of Bud- 
dha I. 

Nativity, Buddha's. See Buddha, birth of. 

Necklace worn by female figure 89 (San- 

Nimbus figured 144 (Gaul and India)_ 
171 n. I, 263 (in leaf form, 
Chandi Mendut), xxiii (Maga- 
dha), xxi (Ta-t'ong-fu), xxv 

— See also Aureole, Halo. 

Nun figured 234-5 (Boro-Budur), xxv 
(Loriyan-Tangai), xxxviii, xxxix 

— See also faila. 

Nyagrodha tree figured 94 (Sanchi). 

— — symbolizing Kajyapa Bud- 
^dha 104 (Sanchi). 

— Ardma figured at Sanchi 94. 

Ogress (Hariti) figured xlix (Japan). 
Oldenburg, S. d', jatakas at Boro-Budur 

identified by, 214 and n. 


I, 215, 217, 

Olla figured 139 40 (Gaul). 

Olympian, ideal of, embodied in Buddha 

figure 134-5. 
Otter. See Dabbhapuppha-jataka, 45, 
Oxen figured 87 (SSnchi). 

Padma. See Lotus. 

Padmdsana posture, Buddha figures in, 
256 (Boro-Budur). 

— reserved for Buddha {ibid.'), 235 n. 
Painting, fresco. See Ajanta. 

— in water colours on canvas 274-5. 

— Tibetan, XL. 

Palisade figured xlii (Boro-Budur), xliv 

Paiicala country 217-224. 
PAf5ciKA, god with purse, 14 1-2. 

— in Great Miracle 174 n. 5. 

— figured 220 (Boro-Budur) , 264 

(Chandi Mendut), xlviii (Sahri- 

— named in DivyavadSna 174 n. 5. 

— See also Tutelary Pair. 
Panthaka, miracles of, 157 n. 3. 
Paradise. See Heaven, 

Pdramitds, or Perfections of Buddha, 57. 
Parasol, Buddha represented by, 19 

— Buddha's, in the heaven of the 

Thirty-Three Gods 19. 

— figured 93, 94, 95, 96, 102 (Sanchi), 

164 n. I (Ajanta), 170-2 (Ajanta), 
172 n. I (Tak)-t-i-Bahai), xix 
(Sarnath), xxi "{jAJanta), xxiv 
xxvii and xxviii (Gandhara), 
XX VIII (Barhut), xxix (Amari- 
vati), xxxvi and xxxvii (Boro- 
Parinirvdna figured iv (Gandhara, Amara- 
vati, Benares), xix (Sdrnath). 

— symbolized by StCipa 16, 89 (San- 

cl^O) 73. 90, I, n, IV (Amari- 
Parnafdld. See Hut. 
Parrot figured xlvii (Gandhira). 
Farya-nka-handha posture figured 97 (San- 
Pdiali, symbol of Vipa?yin, figured 104 

Peacock figured 88, 105 (Siiichi). 



Perfections of Buddha. Sie P4ramita. 

Persepolitan columns xxv (Gandhira). 

Persian. See Iranian. 

Peshawar, Kanishka siApa excavated at, 
— Kanishlta's -winter capital 129. 

Physiologus, Unicorn story in, 48. 

Pishi. See Rajoharana. 

Pigeon, Buddha's life as. See Kapota- 

Pilgrimages, four great, as aid to explana- 
tion of Buddhist art 10. 

— four places of, 148. 

— signacula from, 11. 

PlKGALA, H4rit!'s youngest son, 279284. 

— figured xlvl. 
Pitchers figured 96 (Sinchi). 

Pleyte, C. M. , Boro-Budur sculptures iden- 
tified by, 214 and n. 2, 216 
n. I. 

— Buddha statue at Boro Budur dis- 

cussed by, 257. 
Pond figured xxviii (GandhSra), xxix 

(AmarSvati), xliv (Chandi Mendut). 
Portico figured in Great Miracle 171-179 


— trapezoidal, figured xxv (GandhJra). 
Portrait statues of Buddha, supposed, 82- 

Prauhutaratna, Buddha, figured xxi(Ta- 

Fradakshind ai-'-ingement of bas-reliefs at 

Boro Budur .14-5. 
Prasenajit figured in Great Miracle 164 
n. I, 171, 174 (Ajanta), 179 

— sandal-wood statue of Buddha car- 

ved by, 24 n. I. 
Preaching, Buddha's first. See Dharmaca- 

— symbolized by wheel 90 (Sanchi). 
Prince, figure of, 6 (Sanchi and Barhut). 
Processions of kings figured 80 (Sanchi). 
Promenade. See Cafikrama. 
Promenades, four. See Buddha. 
Pruning-bill borne by Brahman ascetic 

Put)4artka tree, symbolizing fikhin, figu- 
red 104 (S4nchl), 

PuRANA KAgvAPA figured 164 and n, i 

Purojava. Sec Herald. 
Purse figured 139-40 (Gaul), 141-142 

(Gandhira), 145.6 (Gaul and GandhSra), 

246 (Boro-Budur), xxiv, xxv, xlviii 

Purusha, golden, on Brahmanic altars 8 

and n. 1. 
Purushapura. See Peshawar. 

Quail. Buddha's birth as. 5m Latukika ja- 

Q.UAN-AM, the Aunaraese, 287-8. 
Q.ueen figured 227-8, 235 sqq. ; xxxvill and 

xxxix (Boro-Budur). 

Railing figured 94, 98 (Sinchi). 

— at Barhut, remains of, in Calcutta 

Museum 57. 

— stflpa surrounded by , 3 3 ,6 5 (Sanchi) . 
Rijagriha, Bimbisdra king of, 232 sqq. 

— elephant tamed at, 1 50, xix (Sdr- 


— figured loi (SAnchi). 

— importance of, in early Buddhism 

149 and n, 2. ' 

— See also Antagiri. 
Rajoharana figured 163 (AjantJ). 
Ram, story of (Barhut). See Jataka. 
RAma represented as brother of Sita 4J. 
Ramagrftma, A(oka's attempt upon Bud- 
dha's relics at, figured 79 (Sinchi). 

— A{oka's visit to, 23. 
Ratna-cankrama. See Cafikrama. 
Ratnasambhava figured 256-7 (Boro-Bu- 

— image in Batavia Museum 267. 
Rawak, sculptures of, 172 n. i. 
Relics, Buddha's. See Buddha, relics of. 
Rheims, people of (in La Fontaine), 50. 
Rice, bunches of, gathered in Java 228. 
Riches, god of. See Kuvera, Pincika. 
Riddhila-mAtA figured xxiv and xxviii, 

174 (GandhSra). 
Rishis figured 228 (Boro-Budur). 
Rishyafringajdtaka figured 47 (Barhut), 
74 n. 2 (Sinchi). 

— story located in Gandhira 123. 




llishyafringa-jdtaka narrated 47-8. 

River figured 98-100 (Sdnchl). 

Rocks figured xxix, xxxvii and XL (Boro- 

Budur), L (China). 
Roruka, kingdom of RudrJyana 232 sqq. 

— localized by E. Huber 238 n. 2. 
Rosaries figured xxxvil (Boro-Budur). 
Royalty, insignia of, figured 91 (Sinchi). 
RudrAyana story narrated in the Divy4- 

vadina, analysed by E. Huber, 
231-2. ' 

— story figured 25 1-40 (Boro-Budur), 

xxxvn-XL (Boro-Budur). 
Ruru-jdtaka figured 40 (Barhut). 

Sacrifice, instruments of, figured 97 (Sin- 

Sad-dharma-pundarika associated by Wou- 

k'ong with the Gridhrakflfa 149 n. 2. 
S4gala, capital of Menander, 127. 
Sahri-Bahlol, excavations at, xin, xiv, 


— photographs of, xjii. 

— Tutelary Pair from, xltiii. 
Sambodhi. See Bodhi. 

S4ncW stflpa. See Essay III. 

— — bibliography of the, 83-4. 

— — Bodhi figured on the, 102. 

— — Buddha figure wanting on 

the, 117. 

— — Buddha represented by Can- 

krama on the, 19. 

— — Buddha represented only by 

symbols on the, 1 5 . 

— — Buddha's Conception figured 

on the, 92. 

— — Buddhist Heavens figured on 

the, 71. 

— — date of the bas-reliefs of, 190. 

— — described by Captain Fell 63. 

— — description of, 64. 

— — inscriptions studied by Biih- 

ler 66 n. i. 

— — Kinnaras figured on the, 11. 

— — monks not figured on the, 


— — photographs of, vii-x. 

— — relics not discovered in the, 


Silnchi stipa repaired by Archaeological 
Department 64. 

— — sculptures, assthetic value of, 


— — seven traditional Buddhas 

figured on the, 72. 

— — - Shaddanta-jataka at, 188. 
Sandal-wood statue of Buddha, tradi- 
tions relative to the, 24 n. i. 

Sahkajya, Devivatara at, 149-50, 177 

Sarnith, Buddha figures from, date of, 116. 

— sculptures from, Essay VI, xix. 
SAtakani mentioned in inscription at 

Sanchi 4, 67. 
Satire against women 46. 
Saw employed in Shaddanta -jataka 193. 
— figured XXIX (Barhut and Araaravatl). 
Scarf worn by Gandharvas 85. 
Sculptures in the round found almost 
only at Sanchl 66. 

— Indian, more reliable than texts 186. 

— of Sinchi, sesthetic value of, 81. 

— of Sanchl, observation of nature 

in, 81. 

— railings decorated with, 10. 

— passim. 

Seat figured xxvii-xxviii. 

Seleukos, Gandhara ceded by, to Can- 

dragupta 121. 
Serpents figured 107 (S4nchl). 
Shaddanta- jdtaka. Essay VII. 

— chronology of, versions of the, 


— figured 39 (Amarivati, Barhut, 

Gandhara), 40 (Ajanta), 74 n. 
2 (Sinchi), xxix (Barhut and 
Amardvati), xxx (Karam^r 
Hill, Ajanta). 

— narrated in the KalpadrumiLva- 

d4na and StttrMamkira 198- 
199 n. I. 
Shorea Robusia. See fila. 
Siam, Buddha type not original in, 115. 
SiddhArtha Bodhisattva figured xxvir 

(Gandhara), xxxvi (Boro-Budur). 
Signacula in th .' British and Cluny Muse urns 

Sikrl, statue of H4ritt from, XLVii. 

Simhdsana, Bodhi represented by, 148 n. 2. 

— Buddha represented by, 19. 

— figured 168 (Western India), 176, 

XXXVII (Boro-Budur). 

— formed of superposed animals xxi 

S!tA represented as sister of RAma 45. 
SJVALi. story of, 52. 
Slab, rectangular, figured gj (S4nchi). 
Sleeves of tunic xlvii (Gandhira). 
Smallpox, Deity of. see Hariti. 

— infants protected by amulet against, 

Sophocles, Lateran, and figures of Christ 

and Buddha, 136. xvi. 
Speyer, J. S., Maitrakanyaka-avadana at 
Boro Budur explained by, 215, 243-4. 
Spoon, sacrificial, figured 98 (Sanchi). 
Spooner, D. B., Buddhist punch-marked 
coins tabulated and discussed 
by, 14, 21 n. 2. 

— excavations at Sahri-Bahlol by, xiii, 


— Kanishka stOpa explored by, 129, 
Stag, Buddha's birth as. See Ruru-jitaka. 
Staff of mendicant figured xix (Silrnath). 
Standard-bearer figured on capitals of 

gate 86 (S4nchi). 
Stein, M. A., excavations in Chinese Tur- 
kestan by, 285. 

— Hiriti painting discovered and des- 

cribed by, 285-6. 

— photograph communicated by, xlv. 
Stele from S4rn4th. See Essay VI. 

Stool figured 144 (Gaul and India), 164 

n. I (Ajanta), 272-3 (Central Asia). 
Stdpa, Afoka form of, 13. 

— coins marked with, 14. 

— figured 15, 89,90,98 n. I (Sanchl), 

237-239 (Boro-Budur), iv-xix 
(Amaravatl), Xix (S4rnath). 

— gate of. Su Torana. 

— origin and parts of, 33. 

— prominence of, in Buddhist archi- 

tecture 10. 

— structure of, 33-4. 

— symbolizing Parinirvina 18, 73, 

104 (of seven last Buddhas), 
(SAnchl), I, II, i78(Barhut). 


Barhut, Boro- 

See also AmarAvati, 
Budur, Sanchi. 
SuBHADRA, conversion of, figured iv(Gan- 

Sudhana-Kumdra figured xxxv (Boro-Bu- 

— legend of, 217-224. 
SuNDARi, assassination of, 183. 
Siitrdlankdra, chapters in the, number of, 


— fragment of the, discovered 207. 

— Shaddanta-jdtaka in the, 188, 194- 

5, 196, 198, 199, 200. 

— Twin Miracle according to the, 155. 
Swan, as decoration 85 (Sincht) xv. 

— Buddha's birth as. See Hamsa-j4taka. 
Swat River, Naga of, converted by Bud- 
dha 122. 

Symbols 14 (on coins), 69 (Sanchl). 



Ta-che-tu-luen, date of the, 190. 

— Shaddanta-j4taka in the, i 

Takht-i Bahai, Great Miracle figured 
172 n. 

— photograph of, xii. 
Tao-tii, figured l (China). 

TArA figured on the Chandi Mendut 265. 

— image in Batavia Museum 267. 
TAranAtha on the Vajrasana statue 259- 

Ta-t'ong-fu, caves of, date of, 115. 

— Great Miracle figured in, 166 7, 


Taurine symbol. See Nandipada. 
Tawl^ amulet case, 122. 
Taylor, General, visits Sinch! StOpa 63. 
Taxiia, Heliodoros native of See Helio- 

Teaching, gesture of, xxiv (Gandhira). 
Temiya-jdtdka narrated 56. 
Throne. Set Simhisana. 
Thunderbolt figured 91 (Sinchi). 
Tibet, Buddha type not original in, 115. 

— paintings from, xl. 

— wheel symbol in, 26. 

— See also Laiiiaist images. 
TishyarakshitA, wife of A(;oka, a 

spell upon the Bodhi tree 108. 



Tsrunfl, gate of Stflpa railing, 33-4. 

— See also Gate. 

Tortoise, Antelope, Woodpecker, story 
of, 40. 

— as decoration 85 (S4nchl). 
Town figured 239 (Boro-Budur). 

— gate of, figured ill (Gandhara and 


— of Hell 246-7 (Boro-Budur). 

— personification of, figured 174-5, 

III (Gandhira and Amaravatl), 
XVII (Gandhira). 

— See also ^ravastl, Kapilavastu, Ka- 

Trailokyavijaya figured xliii (Java) 

— statuette in Batavia Museum 267-8. 
Tree, coins marked vi'ith, 14. 

— figured 15-90 (SinchJ), xxix (Bar- 

hut), xxxv-xxxvil (Boro-Budur), 
XLIV (Chandi Mendut). 

— miraculous, in legend of Buddha 72. 

— See also Bodhi tree, QSlIu, Cam- 

paka, Ficus, Jambu, Mango, N4- 
gapushpa, Nyagrodha , PitalJ , 
PundarJka, Shorea , Udumbara. 
Tsa-pao-tsang-hin^, date of the, 190. 

— Shaddanta-jataka in the, 187-8, 


Tumulus, funeral. See StApa. 

Tunic figured with sleeves, xlvii (Gan- 

Turban figured 175 n. 2; xxiv-xxv-xxvr 

Turfan, Madonna figured on painting 
from. See YirKhoto. 

Tushita heaven, Buddha's descent from 
the, 92. 

— — figured 91 (Sancht), xxxiv 

Tutelary Pair in Gaul and India. Bssay V. 

— — figured XVII (Gaul), xvm 


— — reason for worship of, 143-4. 

— — relative positions of, 144. 

Udayaka of KaucambI, sandal-wood sta- 
tue of Buddha carved by, 24 n. 1. 

Udumbara tree symbolizing Kanaka-muni 
104 (Sinchi). 

Unicorn, story of. 5ceRishya5ringa-j4taka. 

Upananda. See Nanda. 

Upardja. See Viceroy. 

Uposhadha, father of Mandhdtar, 226-7. 

Uryid on forehead of statues 119, 177. 
— figured 177-8, xxivxxv (Gandhira). 

Uruvilva figured 95 (Sanchl), xl (Boro- 

Ushnisha, on crown of Buddha, figured 

UtpalavarnA figured in Great Miracle 

Vaifill, importance of, in early Buddhism 

149. n. 2. 

— monkey's offering at, figured 150 

XIX (Sirnith). 

— wood near, 228. 

Vairocana figured 256-7 (Boro-Budur). 
VajrapAni figured 174, in, iv, xxvii (Gan- 

— See also Trailokyavijaya. 
Vajrdsana statue of Mahabodhi 259-66. 
Vajrasattva statue in Batavia Museum 

Vase figured xxiv (Gandhira), xliv (Chan- 
di Mendut). 

— lottery, figured 88 (Sanchl). 

— two-handled, figured on painting 

from Central Asia 274. 

— See also Alms- Vase. 

Vessels in clouds figured 238 and n. (Boro- 

Viceroy figured 91 (Sinchl). 

ViQVABHU symbolized by Qila tree 104 

VigvAKARMAN in Great Miracle 171. 

Vifvantara-jdtaka figured 74 n. 2 (Sinchi). 
— located in Gandhira xii, 123. 

ViDHURA. Buddha's birth as. See Vidhura- 
jitaka figured 55-57 (Barhut). 

Vidifi, column of Heliodoros at, 82. 

— ivory-carvers of, 67. 

Vihdra, stele in form of, xxv (Gandhira). 
Village life figured 96 (Sanchi). 
ViPAgyiN symbolized by Bignonia 104 

Virgin Mary suckling Jesus, date of ear- 
liest representation of, 277-9. 



Virgin Mary, Oriental costume in art 

types of, 276. 
VoGEL, J. Ph., identifies with Kuvera the 

god in the Tutelary Pair 141 and 

n. 2. 

— Lokapllas identified by, 173 n. i. 

— photographs communicated by, xii, 

XIII and XLVii 

Water-vessel figured 175 (Brahmi's em- 
blem), XIX (S4rn4th), xxvii (Gandhira)- 
Wheel, coins marked with, 14. 

— of the Law figured 15, 88, 89, 90 


— — — I, II, iv(S4nchl), 
XIX (Sdrnith), xxviii (Barhut). 

— symbol in Gandhara, Mediaeval 

India and Tibet, 26. 

— symbolizing First Preaching 19, 

73, 248 n. 2. 

— — Great Miracle 178, 180 
(Barhut), 180 n. 1 (S4ncbi). 

Wise man, Buddha's birth as, 44. 
Woman, Buddha's birth as, 46. 

— praise of, 49. 

— satire against, 46 
Woodpecker, Antelope and Tortoise See 

Kurunga-miga-jitaka, 40. 
Worship, forms of, depicted 80 (SSn- 

— utensils of, figured xxxviii (Boro- 

Wou - k'ong , Mahiprajnapiramitd- sCltra 
associated with Jetavana by, 149 
n. 2. 

Wou-k'ong, Saddharmapundartka associa- 
ted with Gridhraktlta by, 149 n. 2. 

YxgoDA figured xxxvi (Boro-Budur). 
Yaksha figured 220 (Boro-Budur), iii, iv 
(Gandhara and Amarsivatl). 

— nature of the, 141, 280. 
YdksUnl figured 70-1, 89-90 (S4nch! and 

Yama, kingdom of, figured 91 (SJlnchl). 
Yamaka-prdtihdrya confused with the Great 
Miracle 156-8. 

— described 152. 

— hackneyed by use IJ5-6. 

— in Gandhira 153. 

— narrated by the Jataka book (Intro- 

duction), Jltaka-mili, Sutralan- 
k4ra, Mahdvamsa, Mah&vastu, 
Divyivadina, 155-9. 

— why not preferred to Great Miracl* 

in stele from Sirnath 153-6 
Yslr-Khoto, Madonna figured on painting 

from, 271. 
Yavamajjhaka, suburb of Mithiia, 51. 
Yi-TSING, H4riti image described by, 281. 

— reports M(lla-Sarv4stiv4din pre- 

dominance in Malay Islands 

Yoke- pole figured 96 (SSnchJ), xxix (Ama- 

YzERMAN, J. W., primitive plinth of Boro- 
Budur as originally planned, discovered 
by, 208 n. I, 213. 

— Kinnara-jataka identified by, 242 

n. 2 


p. 5, 1. 22 : For a earthy » read « earthly ». 

P. 8, n. 1. 2 : For « kritya » read u krityd ». 

P. 10, n, : For « suta » read « sutta n. 

P. 20, 1. 15 : Insert comma after " there ». 

P. 21, n. 1, 1. 2 : For B groupe » read « group ». 

P. 26, 1. 5 ; For i> has » read « had ». 

» 1. 22 : For « at « read « in >>. 
P. 30, 1. 14 : For a owe however » read « owe, however n. 

» n I, 1. I : For « Sd. >> read « ed. ". 
P. 31, 1. 11-17 : Need it be stated that this too summary view of karma is not 
an altogether correct one? If we judge from the numerous iarma-tales, things were 
supposed to be much more complicated and less mathematical. 
P. 33, 1 21 : For « was preeminently >> read « par excellence was ». 

» 1. 29 : For « harmika « read « harmihd ». 
P. 36, 1 I : For « in Indian literature not » read « not in Indian literature ». 
P. 37, 1. 15 : For « or if » read « or, if ». 

)) 1. 16 : Insert comma before « in » . 

» 1. 20 : Insert comma before « under ». 

» 1 21 : For « whom « read « which ». 

» 1. 25 : For « who » read v which ». 
P. 40, 1. 6 : For « ne -birth » read « rebirth ». 

» n. 1. 2 : For « Saddanta » read « Shaddanta ». 
P. 43, 11, 8-9 : For « only falls to them » read « falls to them only ». 
P. 46, 1. 16 : For « these » read « the above ». 

» 1. 18 : For " with >> read « in ». 

» 1. 21 : For « at » read « from ». 
P. 47, 1. 8 : Dele comma. 

» 1. 22 : Omit « back ». 

» 1-2 3 : For comma read full stop. 
P. 48, 1. 26 : Omit « back ». 
P. 49, 1. 12 : Read « marriageable ». 
P. 52, 1. 28 : Omit « one ». 
P. 56, 1. 31 : For « Semiya » read « Temiya ». 
P. 58, n. : For « Saddanta « read « Shaddanta «. 
P. 66, 1. 16 : For « coins » read « coigns ». 
P. 68, 1. 2 : For « confreres » read « confreres ». 
P. 69, 1. 25 I For « according to » read « from >>. 

» 1. 29 : For « only serve » read « serve only ». 
P. 70, n. : A more explicit statement of the point here mooted will be found in 
Les Im'iges indien'ies de la Fortune (Mimoires concernant I'Asie Orientale, I, Paris, 
1913, p. 131-4). 
P. 74, 1. 5 : After « school » insert « in order ». 

» n. 2, 1. 3 : For « Saddanta n read « Shaddanta ». 


P. 76, 1. 26 : Read « explain each other by their propinquity ». 
P. 77, 1. 2 : Read « in order to pay ». 

n 1. 18 : For « this » read u the ». 
P. 87, 1. 23 : For « observe » read « obverse ». 
P. 97, 1. 30 : For « buffalos » read « buffaloes >>. 
P. 98, 1. 25 : For « fagot » read « faggot ». 
P. 107, 1. 25 : For H buffalos » read « buffaloes ». 
P. 116, 1. 24 : For « south-west », read « south-east ». 

P. 119, n. : These Notes on the ancient Geography of Gandhdra have since been 
translated into English by Mr. H. Hargreaves and published in Calcutta (1915) 
under the care of the Archaeological Survey of India. 

P. 129, 1. 30 : The casket is not made of gold but « of an alloy in which copper 
predominates » : it had been simply gilded. 
P. 140, 1. 5-6 : Read « occurrence «. 
P. 143, 1. 32 : Instead of « or four » read « for our ». 
P. 144, 1. 15 : Read « paraphrase ». 
Pi. XVIII (text opposite), 1. 11 : Read « Volkerkunde ». 
P. iji, n. I, 1. I : Read « ihid. ». 
P. 153, 1. 21 : For « besides » read « indeed «. 
P. 154, 1. 23 : For n they » read « these ». 
P. 158, 1. I : For a eye witness » read « eye-witness ». 
P. 160, n. I, 1. 3 : Read « which (unfortunately broken) ». 
P. 162, n. I, 1. 6 : For « motifs » read « motif ». 

» » 1. II ; For « do » read « to ». 

» n. 2, 1. 5 : Read « We ». 
P. 164, n. I, 1. 9 : For « rarety » read « rarity ». 
P. 165, n. 2, 1. 12 : Read « carved ». 
P. 167, n. 2, 1. I : Read « provenance ». 
P. 169, 1. 6 : For <i no » read « not ». 
P. 173, n. I, 1. 5 . Before « which » insert comma. 
P. 176, 1. 12 : For « ands » read « and ». 
P. 177, 1. 22 : For « beliewe » read « believe ». 
P. 185, 1. 8 : For « on « read « concerning ». 
P. 189, n. I, 1. 3 : For « Buddha » read « Bauddha «. 

» n. 2, 1. 3 : Before « question » insert « a)>. 
P. 190, 1. 13 : Dele comma. 

P. 196, 1. S : Insert « elephant's » before c teeth n. 
P. 201, 1. II : For « Fausboll » read « Fausb0ll ». 
PI. XXX (text opposite), 1. 12 : Read « panel ». 

» 1. 16 17 : Read « represented ». 

s 1. 19 : Read « just ». 
P. 205, 1. II : Before « Progo » insert « the «. 
P. 21S, n. 2, 1 2 : For « Gronemaan » read « Groneman ». 
P. 216, 1. 4 : For « Then » read « Then again ». 
P. 221, 11. 1-2 : For « begins by presenting » read « first presents ». 
P. 241, II. 4 and 5 : For « on » read « in a. 
P. 244, I. 2 -.Read « identification ». 
P. 351, 1. 8 : For « on » read « in ». 
P. 253, 1. 13 : For « this » read « the ». 


P. 267, 1. 19 : For « rarety « read « rarity d. 

P. 271, 11. 1 1-2 : Omit commas. 

P. 274, 1. 2 : For « partners » read « playmates ». 

P. 275, 1. 10 : For « on « read « in ». 

P. 279, 1. 7 : For »c rarety » read « rarity ». 

P. 283, 1. 7 : For « suckles » read « sucics ». 

P. 284, 1. 15 : For « suckle » read « suck ». 

P. 285, 1. 16 : OmjV comma. 

P. 286, 1. II : For « hangs in folds in >> read « descends sinuously to ». 

P. 287, 1. 30 : Peru consequentially » read « consequently ». 

PI. XLIX (text opposite), 1. i : For « wood-cuts » read « wood -carvings ». — 
These two statuettes and the one on pi. L, 2, have since been published, with three 
others belonging to her father's collection, by Miss Alice Getty in her very inte- 
resting and finely illustrated book on The Gods of Northern Buddhism (Oxford, at the 
Clarendon Press, 1914), pll. XXVI ; XXVII a ; XXIX b and c; XXXII a and b.